Save Old Growth protesters arrested in Vancouver, Richmond, North Saanich – BC | The Canadian News

Several people were arrested Monday for stopping traffic at a series of coordinated Save Old Growth protests in Vancouver, Richmond and North Saanich.

Dozens attended morning demonstrations at the Second Narrows Bridge, in the Massey Tunnel and on Patricia Bay Highway, where one protester was injured when he fell from a ladder.

That individual, who was on the ladder in the center of the road, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“The protest sparked frustration among travelers who tried to bypass this illegal blockade,” wrote BC RCMP Cpl. Alex Bérubé in statements on Monday morning.

“Those blockades are just dangerous for protesters and for others. …While we understand the frustration of travellers, the RCMP does not condone the illegal actions taken to bypass the roadblocks.”

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Between 12 and 15 people attended the North Saanich rally around 6 a.m., bringing northbound traffic to a standstill on Patricia Highway.

Police called in a specialized obstacle removal team to dismantle some of the “physical structures” that protesters had attached themselves to.

It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested.

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In Vancouver, police confirmed that five people were arrested for blocking traffic on the Second Narrows Bridge and four vehicles were seized.

In an interview, Sgt. Steve Addison said the Vancouver Police Department had deployed additional officers ahead of the protests and located “hidden” vehicles near the bridge for potential use in blockades.

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“There was a time, a vehicle that drove onto the bridge with four occupants inside,” he told Global News. “That vehicle came to a stop and the occupants of the vehicle attempted to engage, we believe, behind the wheel.”

The agents intervened and arrested the occupants of the vehicle. Five were arrested in total and booked into jail, Addison said.

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Richmond RCMP has not yet responded to requests for comment on this story, but Mounties were seen removing at least two people from the Massey Tunnel, one of whom was taken away in a police vehicle.

That individual had also climbed a ladder, dividing two opposing lanes in the Massey Tunnel. A traveler initially tried to get it to move: he grabbed the Save Old Growth signs and threw them off the road, and tried to move the ladder, but was unsuccessful and walked away.

Police were also unable to persuade the man to come down from the ladder, eventually picking him up and moving him to the side of the road so cars could circulate.

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The Save Old Growth movement aims to end the clearing of old-growth forests in BC by disrupting critical infrastructure to bring the problem to government attention.

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The group argues that old-growth forests in BC make an invaluable contribution to combating climate change by sequestering polluting carbon emissions.

“Protecting our last remaining ancient forests is a complete no-brainer. We have been systematically lied to by the British Columbia government,” Zain Haq, coordinator of Save Old Growth, said in a press release ahead of the demonstrations.

“Through our civil resistance efforts, we will create a political urgency for the government to represent the will of the people rather than serve the forestry lobby.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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