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3 Save Old Growth supporters arrested for blocking downtown Victoria street

Monday morning arrests the beginning of more disruptions, group says as action also targets Nanaimo
Traffic was backed up Douglas Street during Save Old Growth’s April 4 protest. (Courtesy Save Old Growth)

Victoria police arrested three protestors with the Save Old Growth movement Monday morning for blocking northbound traffic on Douglas Street.

Approximately 20 members of Save Old Growth gathered on the sidewalk at the Finlayson and Douglas streets intersection at 7:45 a.m., April 4 and took turns blocking the three northbound lanes.

“There has been no action or statement from the government and so disruption of the highway will resume at an escalated intensity, starting this morning,” Save Old Growth said in a news release. Its goal is to see B.C. legislate the end of all provincial old-growth logging.

Last year, the province identified 2.6 million hectares of old-growth forest at heightened risk of disappearance and as of April 1, deferred 1.7 million hectares from logging.

Tensions on Douglas Street were high, said one protestor, noting onlookers and drivers were more vocal than at any of the other six Save Old Growth blockades that have taken place since January.

The Victoria Police Department arrested three women for mischief, according to a VicPD release. They were later released with a court date. During the first wave of protests in January, Save Old Growth said 54 of its supporters were arrested across the province.

Meanwhile, protesters from Extinction Rebellion blocked traffic at the intersection of Nicol and Milton streets in Nanaimo that morning, starting at about 11 a.m.

“Urgently saving our old-growth forests as carbon sinks in perpetuity is critical to acting responsibly during the global climate and biodiversity emergency,” said Vic Brice, spokesperson for Save Old Growth Nanaimo, in a press release.

The B.C. Ministry of Forests issued a news release on Friday, April 1, providing an update on old-growth logging deferrals. The province says deferrals have now been implemented on nearly 1.7 million hectares of old-growth, “including approximately 1.05 million hectares of B.C.’s forests most at risk of irreversible loss.”

The ministry said in the release that it is continuing to engage with First Nations to come to agreements regarding deferring harvest of old-growth forests.

— with files from Black Press Media

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Old-growth demonstrators arrested, traffic resumes on Douglas Street in Victoria

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Mostly elder crowd shows love for old-growth forests with Victoria legislature rally

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Protesters with Save Old Growth block traffic at Finlayson and Douglas streets Monday morning. (Courtesy Save Old Growth)