A group of roughly 50 people characterized by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) as “BIPOC youth and settler allies” are blocking traffic on the Johnson Street bridge in Victoria, in protest of police enforcement actions taken at the Fairy Creek watershed.
Just after 4 p.m. a speaker on site talked about the impacts colonialism has had on generations of Indigenous communities. She also called out VicPD and RCMP for police brutality, as the gathered crowd chanted, “They have guns and we are unarmed.”
Protesters were painting a pair of red hands on the bridge to signify every arrest made at Fairy Creek, which has so far been more than 800.
According to a UBCIC release, those engaged in the blockade are in solidarity with Ancient Forest Protectors in Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek), Pacheedaht and Ditidaht territory.
A statement made by the protesters through the release demanded accountability from RCMP for using pepper spray on forest defenders on Aug. 21. “We also want transparency around RCMP tactics against forest protectors and demand that both Victoria city councillors and B.C.’s MLAs restrict police from using pepper spray and other supposedly ‘less lethal’ tactics against BIPOC defenders and their supporters,” the statement continued.
No reliable word was available on when the bridge might reopen to traffic. VicPD tweeted at 4:20 p.m. that it was working to keep everyone safe in the area, noting that a number of officers continue to assist the homicide investigation from Tuesday morning.
More to come…
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) August 31, 2021
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