Video: RCMP pepper sprays Fairy Creek protesters

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      A video posted on YouTube shows the RCMP using a great deal of force against peaceful protesters trying to protect an old-growth forest on Vancouver Island.

      The Mounties used large amounts of pepper spray to enforce an injunction obtained by a logging company, Teal-Jones.

      In addition, one of the protesters appears to have been punched by an officer while on the ground.

      According to the Rainforest Flying Squad, one of the demonstrators was pepper sprayed in the mouth.

      The Mounties were trying to clear the crowd from a gate on Pacific Marine and Gordan Main logging roads.

      This video of RCMP pepper-spraying environmental activists is age-restricted.
      Robin M

      In a statement, the RCMP said that 33 people were arrested.

      "There was pushing and shoving and OC spray was deployed when the crowd failed to comply with police directions and became aggressive," the Mounties said. "One police officer was injured with a concussion and transported to hospital. One protester was also assessed by EHS and transported from the area. Approximately 30 individuals were arrested for contempt of court, including one minor".

      Police also claimed that they encountered "several obstacles" up the road, including people in a tripod-structure. Three more were arrested there.

      "All structures and debris in that area were also removed throughout the day," the Mounties said. "Approximately 7,500 pounds was removed to a gravel lot by RCMP Air Services."

      The recent enforcement action prompted several federal NDP candidates to speak up against how much force the police used against the demonstrators.

      The B.C. government's decision to grant cutting rights to Teal-Jones provoked the protests that began last year. The province has a forest-revenue-sharing agreement with the Pacheetaht First Nation, though one of its elders, Bill Jones, has been one of the foremost opponents of logging old-growth trees.

      In June, Premier John Horgan honoured a request from the Pacheedaht, Ditihadt, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations for greater stewardship over their traditional lands, including those in the Fairy Creek and Walbran areas of southern Vancouver Island.

      As part of this arrangement, there's a two-year moratorium on logging more than 2,000 hectares of trees.

      Elder Bill Jones spoke about the Fairy Creek old-growth forests in this interview, which was recorded earlier this year.