Protester glues hand to highway to protest old growth logging
By CTV News VancouverNews logging protest
Two old-growth logging protesters were arrested for blocking a busy highway through Metro Vancouver on Monday, while two others remain on a weeks-long hunger strike.
The demonstration was organized by Save Old Growth, the same group behind a series of traffic-disrupting protests carried out over recent months, including on Vancouver Island and in the Kootenays.
On Monday morning, members blocked the westbound lanes of the Grandview Highway on the border between Vancouver and Burnaby, once again calling on the government to ban the logging of old-growth trees province-wide.
One protester was perched atop a ladder, and another glued her hand to the roadway – something that has become a common tactic to prevent authorities from dismantling the demonstrations too quickly. Both were arrested by Burnaby RCMP after refusing to leave the scene.
Organizer Tim Brazier told CTV News the attention-grabbing demonstrations and hunger strike are a last resort, after previous calls for government action fell on deaf ears.
“We’ve been signing petitions, we’ve been writing letters, we’ve been doing rallies outside the legislature for years and nothing’s changed,” Brazier said. “So we have to do what other successful social movements of the past have done, which is non-violent civil resistance.”
Emergency responders used a firefighting truck to pluck the one protester from his ladder, and police did their best to remove the other’s hand from the highway without causing injury.
“The different police forces we’ve come across seem to use different methods – some are more rough and really pull off the hand,” Brazier said. “The police today were very careful, and we appreciate that.”
Burnaby RCMP told CTV News traffic on Grandview Highway was impacted for about three hours Monday. Most of the protesters left the area after officers arrived, and the two who didn’t were arrested for “mischief and for intimidation by blocking or obstructing a highway,” the detachment said in an email.
Since the beginning of the year, 82 protesters have been arrested at the various demonstrations, according to Save Old Growth.
The group said two members have also been on a hunger strike for weeks, and have vowed to continue until they can have a public meeting with Forests Minister Katrine Conroy: Vancouver resident Brent Eichler has gone 24 days without solid food, while Nanaimo resident Howard Breen has gone 19 days.
Brazier said doctors have been monitoring both men, and have warned that Eichler is “getting into really dangerous territory” as the hunger strike continues into its fourth week.
“We’ve been calling Katrine every day … and we’ve not heard anything,” he added.
CTV News has reached out to the Ministry of Forests for a response to the hunger strike and the activists’ demand for a meeting.