Concerns that RCMP C-IRG could raid Savage Patch blockade against logging of old-growth forest on Pacheedaht territory
Video of Tla’amin Elder Grandma Losah, a land defender and water protector now at the resistance camp.
A blockade of a road to stop logging on Pacheedaht territory in British Columbia has been announced on Instagram.
The Times Colonist also reports: “Advocates against old-growth logging have been blocking a bridge over the Gordon River with a large wooden statue of a screech owl for the past week. A camp was set up north of Port Renfrew last Saturday [July 30] to prevent forestry company Teal Jones from accessing cut blocks 7265 and 7263 on Edinburgh Mountain, organizers said on social media.”
The blockade has been organized by Savage Patch, who describe themselves as led by “local Indigenous peoples, accomplices and allies”.
Video: CHEK News.
This online fundraiser launched two days ago to send journalist Brandi Morin and photojournalist Amber Bracken to the site also notes: “A new blockade, led by Indigenous youth and supported by non-Indigenous allies, has just been erected on a key bridge crossing an arterial logging road.”
It then notes: “The RCMP’s specialized tactical team that responds to land defence actions is present and surveilling the camp. A raid could come any day, and having media on the ground is of crucial importance to keep tabs on police and document the latest developments as land defenders seek to protect their unceded territories from old-growth logging.”
Morin and Bracken are now on-site.
In this Twitter video report, Morin says: “[The land defenders have] been served with the injunction three times and suspect that a raid and arrests by the C-IRG unit could happen at any time. The land defenders here have told us they’ve been subjected to harassment, surveillance by personnel staked out in various areas in the forest. Over the last several days there has been RCMP helicopters that have showed up.”
The C-IRG unit is now under “systemic investigation” by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) including with respect to its past actions.
Earlier this year, CBC reported: “The RCMP’s federal watchdog agency is weighing its options after receiving nearly 500 formal complaints about a unit tasked with policing resistance to major resource extraction projects in British Columbia. … Most of the complaints stem from [the C-IRG operations at Fairy Creek in 2021], with allegations about exclusion zones, unsafe protester extractions, arbitrary detention, excessive force, intrusive searches, aggression, destruction of property, dishonesty, neglect of duty and more.”
Video: RCMP used pepper-spray against land defenders, August 21, 2021.
The Abolish C-IRG coalition has stated: “We demand that deployment of C-IRG in BC be immediately suspended pending full and fair resolution (review, determination and remediation) of each and all of the hundreds of complaints to CRCC alleging C-IRG use of force to unlawfully arrest, detain and assault people.”
It further notes: “Failure by the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to call for a halt to C-IRG deployment in BC pending determination of the complaints is a tacit admission that the CRCC process is capable of recording complaints but not of remedying their damage.”
For more about the CRCC investigation of the C-IRG, click here.
For more on the calls for the abolition of the C-IRG, click here.
To donate to the fundraiser to support on-the-ground reporting by Morin and Bracken, please click here.