Arrests made at Fairy Creek logging blockade as RCMP enforce injunction on Vancouver Island

Anti-old-growth logging protesters in the Fairy Creek Watershed area of Vancouver Island are being arrested Tuesday as RCMP begin enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction that calls for the removal of the blockade.

The injunction was granted on April 1, after activists set up camps in the area around Fairy Creek, northeast of Port Renfrew, and around the Caycuse area west of Cowichan Lake.

Mounties set up a checkpoint along a forest service road leading to the Caycuse camp and about two dozen police vehicles were seen moving past it earlier today.

By 12:30 p.m., four people had been arrested in the exclusion area near Fairy Creek that was set up by police.

"I'm here to protect the old-growth trees and if it takes being arrested, then I’ll do that," said 68-year-old grandmother Val Embree, one of the people who was arrested Tuesday.

Members of the RCMP enforcement team travelled to the exclusion area on McClure Forest Service Road to several blockades set up by protesters.

The enforcement team read the injunction out loud and gave everyone 20 minutes to vacate the area or else they would be arrested. They also handed out copies of the injunction.

Police say they also let protesters know they would begin enforcement on Tuesday morning.

"They were provided an opportunity to abide by the terms of the injunction and leave the area, or relocate to the designated protest/observation area set up by the enforcement team, or face arrest," said RCMP in a statement Tuesday.

A woman who chained herself to a gate with a bike lock around her neck had to be cut free by RCMP. A man was also attached to the woman with an arm lock device covered in PVC pipe. They were both arrested while still linked together.

"We are here to stand for the people who have lived on these lands for generations," said the woman, who identified herself as Rainbow Eyes.

"Government and industry are trying to take our lands from us and it’s ours. We are here to stand up and the time is now," she said. 

Mounties say five people were arrested over the course of the day for breaching the injunction order.

One person has since been processed and released, while the remaining four are expected to be processed and released by the end of the day, according to police.

RCMP are unsure how many protesters remain within the exclusion area but say it could take up to a week to clear everyone out.

On Monday, police told protesters that they had 24 hours to leave the restrict-access zone.

Forestry company Teal-Jones declined to comment on the arrests Monday. 

With files from the Canadian Press