On May 17, the RCMP began to enforce an injunction against a series of blockades and camps on logging roads on southwest Vancouver Island. The blockaders, many of them members of the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht Nations, are trying to halt old-growth logging in some of the last untouched ancient forests in North America. Over 150 people have been arrested through three weeks of RCMP attempts to clear the roads.
On Monday, a two-year moratorium on old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran watersheds was announced. That moratorium will not halt logging in old-growth forests adjacent to Fairy Creek, in the Gordon River Valley’s Eden Grove, or in Caycuse Valley, where ancient trees are being felled in close proximity to people perched in tree-sits high atop the forest floor. Reaction from protesters was that this was a good step, but insufficient to end the ongoing crisis.
Two days earlier, on Saturday, June 5, RCMP officers attempted to advance on Waterfall camp and clear a series of roadblocks on the road leading to the camp. As protesters chained themselves to barricades and, in one case, to a steel beam suspended over the waterfall, a group of several hundred protesters marched from River HQ, the homebase for the Rainforest Flying Squad (a loose group that has assembled to protect the forest), towards Waterfall camp. Called by Elder Bill Jones and led by Hereditary Chief Victor Peter of the Pacheedaht Nation, the march was led by a large Indigenous contingent.
Photojournalists Ora Cogan and Yassie Pirani captured these scenes from inside Waterfall camp on Saturday.