More than 866 protesters against old-growth logging have been arrested in western Canada since April. These protests are now the biggest act of civil disobedience in the country’s history. The main issue of contention is Vancouver Island’s disappearing ancient forests.
The situation on the island has been worsened by police brutality towards protestors. The police have responded to protesters by pepper-spraying, beating and dragging them. The number of arrests has already surpassed those made in the 90s during the anti-logging “War in the Woods” protests.
Protestors have locked themselves to the logging road, chained themselves on tripod stands made from logs, suspended themselves in trees and locked their arms in devices known as sleeping dragons, which are cemented to the ground. In June, British Columbia announced a two-year logging moratorium. Protestors want a permanent ban, but the government has been reluctant to acquiesce.
Jean-François Savard, one of the protestors who has been at the campsite since April, said, “We have experts in rigging, we have climbers, we have carpenters – we have all these people getting together to build amazing, beautiful things.” Savard added, “The [police] are getting very frustrated by our tenacity because we’re constantly rebuilding and coming up with new ideas. People aren’t giving up.”
Police have recently been criticized for their handling of the situation. They are accused of hiding their faces and not wearing name badges. They have also barred the media from reporting on the protests despite a court ruling this unlawful.
Those at the camps say that their resolve is only growing. They are determined to protect the remaining forests. One of the protestors, Warren Kimmit, said they are willing to put their bodies on the line.
“The civil disobedience movement is very simple. We put our bodies on the line, we almost expect to be injured, we expect to be in a very uncomfortable situation,” said Kimmit. “Our willingness to do that is what causes the public to see our commitment to a cause, to rally them and to put pressure on the government to act.”
Via The Guardian
Lead image via Pixabay