The RCMP’s War in the Woods [Dispatches from Fairy Creek]

Featured image from the Fairy Creek Blockade Facebook page.

On August 9th, exactly one year after the first Fairy Creek blockades began, the RCMP went on a rampage that appeared to be a tyrannical temper tantrum. They bulldozed down the kitchens at HQ, destroyed the pedal bikes, stole our medical supplies, fire-fighting equipment and communications devices, slashed car tires, towed away cars and tore down all the other buildings and toilets. The current RCMP operation includes the use of three helicopters, a surveillance van with satellite, about 100 officers from a special tactical team, police dogs, about 70 vehicles, arrest wagons, extraction equipment, gates and gate-builders, as well as team overtime and accommodation for nearly three months. The cost for this overwrought response to peaceful protestors is now undoubtedly in the millions.

*Four RCMP picked up a forest defender and appeared to deliberately drop him on his head. *He could see that the tow truck driver was about to hook up his friend’s car next, and was walking over to talk to him, when he was attacked:

https://www.instagram.com/stories/fairycreekblockade/2637396709166361159/

Towed vehicles are being released at a cost of $2500.00. City of Victoria councillor, *Ben Isitt’s take on the written legal decision *on illegal RCMP exclusion zones: “In an important decision published yesterday, BC Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson has concluded that the RCMP is acting unlawfully by blockading public forestry roads on southern Vancouver Island (so-called ‘exclusion zones’)” This is difficult to justify when a survey by Sierra Club of BC found 92% of British Columbians want old-growth forests protected.

A BioBlitz survey, recently conducted by a team of volunteer scientists, focused on *endangered species near* *Heli Camp*. Evidence was found of at least *seven *endangered species living there. Realizing that further destruction in the area is increasingly likely as the raids on River and HQ continue today, biologist Loys Maingon say, “Professional biological inventories carried out in the Heli Camp area have resulted in a formal complaint to the BC Forest Practices Board, because they show that Teal Jones disregarded BC Timber Sales’ own guidelines, and BC government’s own official commitment under the Species at Risk Act, to protect Old-growth Specklebelly lichen, which is a rare listed endemic species, unique to the West Coast. “Management guidelines in BC show that there should be a minimal 200-metre setback from this species,” he added. “Teal Jones has built roads through this unique population and caused ‘irreparable harm to the environment’.  The area is also home to other listed species which were not inventoried prior to the issuance of forestry licenses.”

Dr. John Neilson, a past member of COSEWIC (the national scientific group assessing the status of endangered wildlife in Canada) stated: “The blockade has bought time for citizen scientists to start to do the biological survey work that government and industry was obliged to do, but apparently did not.  “Already, many rare and unusual species have been found in the Fairy Creek area, and road construction has already destroyed rare communities. Teal Jones and the Provincial Government have been made aware of these findings. The ball is now squarely in their court to respond with meaningful long-term protection for British Columbia’s biodiversity in the already too-scarce old growth habitat of southern Vancouver Island.”

There were no consequences when Teal Jones began clear-cutting in Caycuse this spring, despite the Sierra Club of BC’s warning that nesting Western screech owls had been found there:

https://sierraclub.bc.ca/teal-jones-risks-destroying-fragile-western-screech-owl-forests/

Meanwhile, on Saturday Monday August 14th, 220 Elders marched into HQ and up the mountaina and scolded the RCMP who did not make any arrests. On Monday, August 16th, when Fairy Creek Forest Defenders were not looking, RCMP were caught slashing their drinking water bottles. We have seen repeatedly how this State sanctioned targets Indigenous and People of Color over settler forest defenders and brings home the hard facts of an extractive, destructive, nature-destroying post-colonialism.

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