RCMP make arrests at logging protest north of Nelson – Smithers Interior News

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A group of people protesting logging plans in an area north of Nelson were arrested by RCMP on Tuesday morning, May 17, for violating a court-ordered injunction by a West Kootenay logging company.

The Last Stand West Kootenay group set up camp in April on a logging road in Argenta-Johnsons Landing Face, a forested mountain stretch between the east shore of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy near the small community of Argenta.

RCMP said in a statement that the 17 people were arrested for civil contempt of court. Of these, nine were taken into custody while eight people were released on condition that they attend a July 19 court date in Nelson.

Vancouver Island lawyer Noah Ross, whose firm provides legal advice to those detained, said he believed around 20 to 30 people had been arrested.

Of these, he said nine people had been arrested for refusing to sign release terms. Ross said those people were released later that afternoon.

RCMP said the injunction granted to Cooper Creek Cedar in 2019, which holds a permit for the area, restrains anyone “from interfering with or advising others to physically restrain, obstruct, restrain or physically interfere in any way.” way with logging and related activities”. operations and activities of CCC, their employees, contractors or agents. »

Although 1.4 hectares of old-growth forests identified by the province have been carried over, the company said it intends to begin harvesting as soon as the blockade is lifted.

Several people who were present when the arrests began on Tuesday told the Nelson Star that RCMP officers did not respond to requests for negotiations.

RCMP said they are enforcing an injunction granted to Cooper Creek Cedar in 2019 that protects the road from blockages. Photo: Louis Bockner

Matt Perry was among those arrested. He said only one person was blocking the road at the time of the arrests and protesters had already been led to believe by the RCMP that they could legally demonstrate on the sides of the road.

Perry said the RCMP also did not give those present the opportunity to leave the site before they were arrested.

“They came in and didn’t care about following the law and didn’t care whether these charges stood or not,” Perry said. “Their intention was to push everyone out of that area as quickly as possible.”

RCMP said in a statement that they had previously informed the group that they would be arrested if they continued to stay in the area known as Salisbury Creek.

A protester named Condor lies down after RCMP officers attempted to arrest him near Argenta, British Columbia on May 17.  Photo: Louis Bockner

A protester named Condor lies down after RCMP officers attempted to arrest him near Argenta, British Columbia on May 17. Photo: Louis Bockner

Argenta resident Zan Mautner said he was visiting the camp to show his support when the RCMP arrived. Mautner added that he was never told why he was arrested.

“This mountainside is really important to the local community… Not enough is being done to protect it.”

Miguel Pastor, 17, was also arrested. He said the RCMP destroyed or confiscated the personal effects of those present. “I am traumatized and deeply upset that people can be treated this way.”

Another arrested man who identified himself only as Jaguar told the Nelson Star that the RCMP had detailed the group’s legal observers and their police liaisons.

He said the group had reason to believe they would reach a resolution to the standoff with Cooper Creek Cedar before the arrests.

“It was really disappointing that they decided to go this route,” he said.

@tyler_harper | [email protected]

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