A statue of Queen Victoria on the grounds of the British Columbia legislature was left splattered with red paint Friday, amid protests against old-growth logging.
Victoria police are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which they say happened around 2:30 p.m., during the demonstration.
“Safe, peaceful and lawful protest is permitted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Vandalism is not,” police said in a media release.
Red paint was splashed on multiple sides of the statue’s base, while the words “land back” and “Lekwungen” were also written on the column.
Protesters eventually moved to the grounds of the Empress Hotel before dispersing, though one man remained perched in a tree next to the statue.
The damage to the statue was being assessed Friday evening.
The demonstration came days after the province announced it would pause old-growth logging activity in Fairy Creek watershed and the Central Walbran region for two years.
The deferral came at the request of the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, who said they wanted to prepare formal forestry plans.
It also followed escalating protests near logging sites in the forests near Port Renfrew, which activists say contain some of the last unprotected stands of old-growth trees on Vancouver Island.
RCMP have arrested more than 185 people for breaching a B.C. Supreme Court injunction at the site.
Police are asking anyone with information about the paint to come forward.