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BC RCMP’s acting commanding officer open to independent agency oversight after Fairy Creek protests

Click to play video: 'Fairy Creek blockade marks one year anniversary' Fairy Creek blockade marks one year anniversary
RCMP say one protester and one police officer were injured on Saturday while arrests were being made on a road leading into the Fairy Creek watershed. Paul Johnson reports – Aug 9, 2021

An internal email by the acting commanding officer for the B.C. RCMP says “he’s open to the oversight of an independent agency” after recent events at the Fairy Creek watershed on Vancouver Island.

In a memo to RCMP members obtained by Global News, Eric Stubbs said a group tried to block police access to roads in the watershed on Aug. 21.

Click to play video: 'Tensions escalate at Fairy Creek blockade' Tensions escalate at Fairy Creek blockade
Tensions escalate at Fairy Creek blockade – Aug 22, 2021

He said there was pushing and shoving and one officer suffered a concussion.

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Stubbs admitted pepper spray was used.

Read more: Police deploy pepper spray, 2 injured, as tensions escalate at Fairy Creek blockade

Demonstrators have alleged police indiscriminately targeted peaceful protesters with pepper spray. Numerous complaints have been made to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.

“I’m always open to the oversight of an independent agency that provides transparency needed in these sensitive and high profile events,” Stubbs said.

Read more: B.C. old-growth logging protests having political impact, says UBC expert

He ended the memo saying criminality and violence have to be managed to ensure the safety of everyone.

Meanwhile, protesters shut down Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge on Monday afternoon demanding accountability from police.

— with files from Simon Little

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