The RCMP has come under criticism for allegedly preventing legal observers and the media from observing how the Mounties are enforcing a court injunction against antilogging protesters.
In an open letter to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, and RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association claims that the national police force's actions are "overbroad in scope and constitute an inconsistent, arbitrary, and illegal exercise of police discretion".
“The BCCLA is deeply disturbed by the RCMP exclusion zone near the Fairy Creek blockades on unceded Ditidaht territory," BCCLA staff counsel Veronica Martisius said in a news release. "There is nothing in the injunction that prohibits movement in the area or peaceful protest.
"The RCMP, by their actions, are showing blatant disregard for Indigenous rights and the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms," she continued. "This situation is alarmingly reminiscent of what occurred in Wet’suwet’en territories last year.”
She wrote the letter after Legal Observers Victoria stated that several RCMP practices have prevented people from observing and documenting what the RCMP is doing.
It's currently enforcing an injunction obtained by Teal-Jones Group, which has a licence from the B.C. government to cut down ancient trees in the area near Port Renfrew.
The BCCLA is demanding that the province abide by the Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples Act, which implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia.
In addition, the BCCLA stated in the letter that it stands with the Rainforest Flying Squad, which claims to be engaging in peaceful civil disobedience.
Meanwhile, Legal Observers Victoria organizer Keith Cherry has accused the RCMP of repeatedly trying to "shroud their enforcement operations at Fairy Creek in secrecy".
"Now, as arrests become increasingly violent and physical, we are seeing exactly why the RCMP is so committed to preventing the public from witnessing their activities," Cherry said.
"This is the reason that Legal Observers exist—to create community safety through police accountability," he continued. "The RCMP’s continued hostility towards observers and press is a blatant attempt to avoid taking accountability for their role in ongoing colonial violence towards land defenders, Indigenous communities, and the land itself.”