A move to pause old-growth logging in areas of southern Vancouver Island this week has done little to stem opposition to the practice, as protesters took to the streets in Vancouver on Saturday.
Demonstrators with the group Extinction Rebellion marched from Vancouver City Hall to Broadway and Cambie streets, blocking traffic for several hours before clearing out around 3:30 p.m.
Vancouver police estimated the crowd at between 60 to 70 people.
As with every protest, officers will be on site should anything criminal arise and for public safety. Officers will have the discretion to take enforcement if necessary.
Organizers said they were pushing for a phone call with Premier John Horgan “to discuss an end to all old-growth logging in B.C.”
The group said Saturday’s action was in solidarity with demonstrators who have been facing off with RCMP for weeks near Lake Cowichan and Port Renfrew, over logging in the Fairy Creek watershed.
On Tuesday, the province said it would suspend old-growth harvesting in that area and the Central Walbran, after the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations asked for a two-year deferral on the practice while they developed their own forestry plans.
On Thursday, the Squamish First Nation also called on the province to suspend old-growth logging in its territory.
On Friday, hundreds of demonstrators opposed to old-growth logging descended on the B.C. legislature in Victoria. During the protest, red paint was splashed on a statue of Queen Victoria on the legislature grounds.
The exact amount of remaining old-growth forest in B.C. is disputed by environmentalists, industry and the provincial government.
The province claims there are about 13 million hectares of old-growth forest remaining in B.C., but a 2020 report from ecologists found a tiny fraction of that — 380,000 hectares, or about three per cent — is actually capable of supporting the large trees people tend to think of as “old growth.”