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RCMP enforcing protest encampment near Lake Cowichan

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LAKE COWICHAN, B.C. – RCMP in Lake Cowichan say they are enforcing a protest encampment opposed to forestry operations in Fairy Creek.

The force says they have been involved in ongoing discussions with the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations with concerns over the protest camp. They say the camp has been placed across Haddon Main and Carrmanah Mainline Forest Service roads.

Indigenous leaders released a statement on June 23, saying they met with protesters to give a final notice to dismantle the camp, which they say is illegal as it is on Ditidaht Traditional Territory.

They add the camp was built without the consent of the Ditidaht Nations’ elected and hereditary leadership and violates both traditional Indigenous and provincial laws.

“As Indigenous governments, it is our responsibility to decide what is best for our lands, our waters, our resources, and the wellbeing of present and future generations,” said Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate.

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“The unauthorized encampment disrespects our right to walk with pride between the traditional and modern worlds, to protect our culture and to explore economic opportunities for the common good and benefit.”

Police say they are maintaining a police presence in the area with regular patrols.

“We have heard the concerns of the impacted First Nations leaders and the RCMP are working with all the stakeholders to determine a peaceful resolution,” said chief superintendent John Brewer.

“Interfering with the lawful use and enjoyment of property is a criminal offence, and impeding access to the forestry roads is a clear violation of the court-ordered injunction granted to Teal-Cedar Products Ltd.”

RCMP add they have deployed resources to the area and access to the roads will be limited while police clear the road of obstructions.

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