Cross-posted from the Fairy Creek Blockade
Saturday, July 11th Report
?11 MONTHS AT THE BLOCKADE!!?
Day 52 of Police Enforcement
Day 335 of Direct Action Protecting Vancouver Island’s Ancient Temperate Rainforests on Ancestral Pacheedaht and Ditidaht Territories
4 total arrests today
393 arrests to date and counting.
Today marks the 11th month since our blockade started!
To help ring in the event, a forest defender celebrated her 27th birthday by getting arrested. “It was amazing; I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s exactly what I’m here on the planet to do, what the accumulation of the last year called me to do. This is how I want to welcome in my next lap around the sun.”
RCMP actually sang her Happy Birthday while she was extracted from her blockade device, a tube cemented into the ground (we call these ‘sleeping dragons’) at the bottom of a trench.
This particular forest defender has a family history with the RCMP. Her grandfather was an officer and being here on the frontlines has left her feeling conflicted. She knows that people get into this line of work seeking to do good, and today an officer even told a blockader that we are “not criminals.” Many of the RCMP disagree with this enforcement, and we have even heard of some officers speaking out and facing disciplinary action. As always, we urge those officers who feel conflicted to educate themselves on not only the history of the RCMP as a means to oppress Indigenous people, but on the nature of what we are doing here. Laws don’t change easily, and we need John Horgan and the NDP to understand that they are on the wrong side of history. Only they can tell the RCMP to stand down.
The arrest was exhilarating for her, but there was also a dark moment. During the extraction process a male officer needed to position himself such that he loomed over her, triggering memories of traumatic experiences. Knowing that the officer needed to stay in this position for her safety did nothing to lessen the panic and fear she felt. Confused, tears streaming down her face, she acknowledged that the officer was respectful of her body and personal space, but she still shook recounting the event. She’s chosen to take this experience as an opportunity to grow. This kind of determination is what has allowed us to occupy these blockades for 11 months now.
Later, RCMP used an excavator to extract a blockader from a sleeping dragon. While the forest defender was unable to see what was happening, he could feel it. The excavator digging into the earth beside him and puncturing the PVC pipe his arm was locked into made him ask the question “What could happen if this machine messes up?” With his arm barely able to fit in the tube, escape would not have been easy.
Nearby, a woman in her 50’s who works as a physical therapist was in a similar position. “If you mess up my arm I can’t feed my family,” she told the police. “Please, don’t hurt me or use that excavator on us.” Confusingly, they met her request. The RCMP seem to be picking the safety precautions they follow at random.
With our setup today—a sleeping dragon with a trench on either side and two more sleeping dragons leading into it from the trenches such that three people can lock in (one from the top and one on either side laying in the trenches—a small misstep meant large rocks falling on the forest defenders lying in the trenches. “We’re going to bring the excavator up,” RCMP threatened. Using the backhoe would cause the road to crumble into the ditch; burying blockaders in the process. Forest defenders knew this was a scare tactic to try to get them to unclip willingly. We’ll repeat a question we have repeatedly asked the RCMP in person: why can’t police use hand tools to extract people from hardblocks that were constructed using hand tools? They just did so recently, in fact.
You may remember Grounded Eagle—the BIPOC young adult who was given a concussion by RCMP when they dropped his tripod. Fully recovered, and eager to get back into the action, he found himself up at Waterfall Camp this past week. In his extraction this time around he shared his concerns about the RCMP using an angle grinder. As someone in the Firesworkers Union he knows the smallest spark can cause a subterranean fire. While they worked on him he felt sparks flying onto his hands as they dumped water onto the cutting area.
As always, police set up an exclusion line that was too distant for observation and ignored all complaints. At a distance of 40 metres, photography of the action was impossible. We’ve attached photos of the set-up and a few interactions with police.
Some blockaders felt a weight had been lifted today. Another blockader’s face lit up when he spoke about an owl that swooped in to perch on the police tape; flapping its wings and glaring at the RCMP. Both the blockaders and officers could barely believe what they were seeing; it was as if the forest itself was protesting this enforcement. In a rare moment of vulnerability the RCMP admitted they aren’t ecologists, they’re not in forestry, and that they don’t have all the information. We wonder if any of the officers present this day will speak up like their colleagues have. The time is short and this is truly the last stand. Old growth logging is happening RIGHT NOW and we’re down to a fractional percentage point left.
If we are to stop this, we need your help.
If you’ve been following our updates and waiting to get involved, now is your time. Numbers are low and we need your help now more than ever. This Saturday is a BIG day of action with some special plans. We’d love to see you this week and on Saturday.
Come to camp.
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
COME TO CAMP!
Join us at Fairy Creek (Ada’itsx) HQ!! Please arrive prepared to self-sufficiently camp overnight. Arrestees and non-arrestees are needed DAILY.
We are in wildfire season and as such BEFORE COMING TO CAMP, YOU MUST READ OUR FIRE SAFETY PROTOCOLS:
Read our pre-arrival info sheet: http://bit.ly/FCBarrivalinfo
Worried about getting arrested? Here’s some educational information: http://bit.ly/FCBarrestee
Get here: https://bit.ly/FCBnavigation
NEED A RIDE?
Backcountry hikers/campers, climbers, tradesmen, kitchen, visitor services, logistics, you name it, we need it! Come prepared to wield your unique skillset & creativity for the betterment of the movement. It is up to YOU to figure out where and how you can be most useful. Get up in it! Visit different camps! Meet people! Ask around!! Find gaps!!!
CAN’T MAKE IT HERE?
REMOTE POSITIONS OPEN NOW!
Communications, social media management, research, fundraising, content creation, graphic design, video editing, writing, outreach, admin, legal, strategy, local organization, the list goes on. Got skills? Got heart? We’d love your help!
Fill out our intake form now: https://bit.ly/FCBintake
-Support for supplies and legal fees:
-Current list of supplies & physical donations required:
JOIN A LOCAL EVENT!
Check with your local Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, or any other activist group focused on protecting our future and Indigenous sovereignty. If there aren’t any in your area, rally a few friends and start your own!
Check this page: http://bit.ly/LS4Fevents
CALL YOUR MLA EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Find your MLA’s number here: https://bit.ly/MLAEveryDay
GOT HEALING/THERAPY SKILLS?
We are developing a network of health practitioners to help forest defenders both on and off site. If you are willing to offer healing help, sign up here: http://bit.ly/FCBtherapy
SIGN PETITIONS & MEET YOUR MLA!
-Link to all ancient forest petitions:
-Stand.earth MLA Action Toolkit
Klecko klecko! In solidarity, thank you 🙂