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Protester injured from ladder fall during Pat Bay Highway blockade

One in hospital, four arrested following old-growth logging protest

By Martin Bauman
June 13, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Protester injured from ladder fall during Pat Bay Highway blockade

One in hospital, four arrested following old-growth logging protest

By Martin Bauman
Jun 13, 2022
Photo: Camilo Ruiz / Instagram
Photo: Camilo Ruiz / Instagram
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Protester injured from ladder fall during Pat Bay Highway blockade

One in hospital, four arrested following old-growth logging protest

By Martin Bauman
June 13, 2022
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Protester injured from ladder fall during Pat Bay Highway blockade
Photo: Camilo Ruiz / Instagram

One highway blockader shattered his pelvis early Monday morning after falling several metres from a ladder perch on the Patricia Bay Highway.

The demonstrator, along with members of the old-growth logging protest group Save Old Growth, had been blocking ferry-bound traffic on the Patricia Bay Highway near McDonald Park Road, starting at about 5:40am. 

The group had erected a ladder platform above a parked trailer hitch. One blockader sat at the very top of the ladder in a wooden perch. 

But in the midst of an altercation between the roughly 15-20 blockaders and frustrated ferry-goers, the ladder snapped.

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Tense highway standoff

The Save Old Growth group had announced last week that Monday would mark the beginning of demonstrations that would “disrupt critical infrastructure in BC.”

The group, a self-described “nonviolent civil resistance campaign,” has said it aims to put a stop to old-growth logging in BC. 

Its actions—from blocking the Malahat Highway in April to dumping manure at Premier John Horgan’s constituency office—have occasionally drawn the ire of Victorians unsympathetic to their cause. On Friday, the resource-industry advocacy group Resource Works pitched a possible lawsuit over Monday’s blockades, calling on drivers to report if their business was affected by delays.

“You’re stopping me from f***ing working?” one commuter could be heard shouting at the blockaders on Monday in a video shared by freelance photographer Camilo Ruiz on Instagram.

At least one truck driver drove over the grassy shoulder to bypass the blockade. Several commuters also tossed the protesters’ wooden pallets, which they’d been using to block the road, onto the shoulder. One man, Ruiz told Capital Daily, attempted to break off a wooden post connected to the ladder structure.

“This is a nonviolent, peaceful protest—the police are on the way,” blockaders could be heard telling the man on video.

“This is a nonviolent protest, too,” he responded, before snapping a length of wooden 2x4 that supported the ladder by a rope connection.

A frustrated commuter attempts to remove a wooden support beam installed by old-growth blockaders. Photo: Camilo Ruiz / Instagram

“There’s someone up there,” blockaders replied.

“We don’t care,” commuters could be heard saying in Ruiz’s recording.

Minutes later, when the ladder broke and the blockader fell, several ferry-goers could be heard cheering and applauding.

Four blockaders arrested

Police arrived on scene at about 6:30am and began to clear the road. According to CHEK, at least 30 cars were left empty as passengers rushed to catch the early morning ferries.

RCMP have not responded to Capital Daily, but Save Old Growth demonstrator Liz Stewart told us she witnessed police arrest four blockaders. They also seized a drone. The demonstrator who fell was carried off on a stretcher and taken to Victoria General Hospital, where he remains.

“He’ll be in the hospital for a while,” Stewart said.

Ruiz also confirmed he witnessed police speak with the driver involved in breaking the ladder platform. He called the morning’s standoff “the most rage that I’ve ever seen.”

“Drivers are cheering and honking [about] the fact that this person just fell. It’s pretty gruesome,” he said.

Similar blockades happened province-wide

Monday’s blockade echoed similar protests in Vancouver and Richmond, where Save Old Growth demonstrators blocked the George Massey Tunnel and disrupted traffic on the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.

Premier Horgan announced in November the province would defer logging of old-growth trees within 2.6 million hectares of BC’s “most at-risk old-growth forests.”

“We have a responsibility to ensure the benefits are shared, today and with future generations,” he said in a release.

As we reported on the Capital Daily podcast in December, however, Horgan’s critics have argued that some of BC’s possible old-growth deferrals have already been logged.

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Martin Bauman
Newsletter Editor
contact@capitaldaily.ca

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