Protest Group Member Recalls May 17th Arrests Near Argenta

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(Image provided by Last Stand West Kootenay: Louis Bockner)

Logging protesters arrested at Salisbury Creek near Argenta are speaking out following the events on May 17th.

Last Stand West Kootenay and community locals had been peacefully set-up since April 25th and while they were visited by police prior to arrests; the group alleges they were under the impression that only those physically blocking the road would be targeted. The group alleges 30 RCMP members, some wearing green military gear and many wielding firearms, were indiscriminate in taking people away.

Miguel Pastor tells the Bounce Radio Newsroom that it didn’t feel like anyone was safe from being arrested:

“They read something out over a megaphone, it was hard to hear over the noise and then they immediately just grabbed them and arrested them and took them way. I looked over (and) I’m like’ oh I wonder how the initial conversation is going’ and I saw the legal observer who is supposed to be a neutral…. just documenting everything, being taken away by police.”

“They didn’t let us leave…. People were trying to leave. An old lady, she just had a hip-replacement, local Argenta member; she tried to leave (and) they just arrested here and they were just arresting people left right and centre with no cause really. I was quite upsetting, but I think the crowd maintained their composure really well….”

“I was communicating I had no intention of blocking the road when I was snatched, grabbed (and) illegally arrested. These officers they’re not local police officers; they’re a paramilitary force called the community industry response group with officers from all over Canada that travel around the province of British Columbia…. To specifically arrest land defenders and environmental protestors.”

Pastor describes police actions as scary and having no accountability, but protestors are said to be setting the camp back up next to the forest service road where no traffic will be blocked. RCMP reports arresting 17 individuals protesting the logging operations near Argenta, but Last Stand West Kootenay alleges over twenty were arrested. Of the 17 confirmed to be arrested, eight have a court date for July 19th.