About 60 protesters from the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion marched from Vancouver’s City Hall on Saturday to the intersection of Broadway and Cambie where they called for an end to all old-growth logging in the province.
It’s the latest show of support for activists on southern Vancouver Island who continue to defy a court injunction that makes it illegal to block logging activities at forested sites between Port Renfrew and Cowichan Lake.
Extinction Rebellion, which is known for large-scale demonstrations around the world against what it calls government inaction on climate change, says it also wants a commitment to net zero carbon emissions in the province by 2025.
“The government has broken the social contract by failing to protect the country, because we’re in a climate and ecological emergency, ” said Zain Haq, an organizer with Extinction Rebellion. “Even a four-year-old child realizes that it is completely ridiculous to cut down a 1,000 year-old tree.”
Protestors arrived at the intersection after 12 p.m. on Saturday. Vancouver police said the intersection was back open by around 3:30 p.m. Const. Tania Visitin said in an email that there were no arrests and no issues with the protest.
<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VanTraffic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VanTraffic</a> Broadway and Cambie is now open in all directions.
On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan agreed to a request from the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations to defer logging in Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew as well as the central Walbran Valley area to the west.
Deferrals in the two areas involves about 2,000 hectares of old-growth forest.
‘In this for the long haul’
But protesters with the Rainforest Flying Squad have said they will not leave the area, as logging could still happen in old-growth areas next to Fairy Creek and parts of central Walbran not included in the deferral.
“The rainforest flying squad is in this for the long haul,” said Kathie Code, who speaks for the group. “We’ve been in this for 10 months and if we’re in this for years and years, then we will be.”
Demonstrators there have been calling for a moratorium on the logging of old-growth trees since last August. They say the giant trees are on the verge of extinction in the province and are needed to maintain B.C.’s biodiversity.
The RCMP says that since enforcement of the injunction began on May 17, officers have arrested 214 individuals, some of them twice.
The province says about a quarter of forested land in B.C. is made up of old-growth trees and more than 70 per cent of that is protected. Independent scientists have shown that areas able to grow significant old, large trees have faced intense harvesting and are nearly all gone.