Group launches 'Clear the Road' campaign against old-growth logging blockades

A Victoria-based forest and resource group has started an online petition calling on B.C. municipalities and law enforcement to act quickly to clear old-growth protesters who blockade roads.

The group called Green Growth BC says it launched its "Clear the Road" campaign out of frustration with the recent blockades, saying the province is making headway in preserving old-growth forests.

Two protesters with the group Save Old Growth were arrested last month after blocking the Trans-Canada Highway in Langford, B.C.

Police said that "specialized officers" had to be called to remove protesters who had attached themselves to a barrel filled with concrete in the middle of the highway, stalling traffic for hours.

The disruption sparked arguments between the activists and motorists and led to charges of mischief and intimidation against the two protesters.

Stewart Muir with Green Growth BC says watching videos of the altercation that were posted online inspired the campaign and petition.

"It is heart-wrenching to see some of these videos about people stuck," Muir said Wednesday. "They have sick children in the car, they're going to life-impacting events in their lives. I mean it's people in tears, begging to be let through. You can't watch that and not have some compassion if you feel for other people."

Green Growth BC says the petition will be distributed to police departments and municipalities across the province if it hits its goal of 1,000 signatures.