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Protesters claim vehicles being illegally towed from area near B.C. old-growth blockade

Click to play video: 'Protesters claim underhanded tactics by police and forest company at Fairy Creek logging blockade' Protesters claim underhanded tactics by police and forest company at Fairy Creek logging blockade
Anti-logging protesters are accusing forest company Teal-Jones and the RCMP of underhanded tactics at the Fairy Creek blockade. They claim they're not just targeting the activists but dozens of their vehicles as well. And as Kylie Stanton reports, the issue is now being decided in court – Sep 16, 2021

Protesters opposing old-growth logging on Vancouver Island are accusing a logging company and the RCMP of underhanded tactics at the site of long-running blockades near Port Renfrew.

Protest group The Rainforest Flying Squad claims that tow trucks have illegally removed more than 40 vehicles from the area, and were impounded — with a cost of $2,500 for their return.

Read more: Climate change cited as reason to deny injunction extension in B.C. old-growth dispute

The group is now taking logging company Teal-Jones to court over the issue.

“By all means, if these vehicles were blocking roads then they’ve got a right to tow the and try to get damages for them,” lawyer Noah Ross told Global News.

“But the vehicles that my clients that we’re proceeding to court on weren’t blocking the roads and I guess we’re in court because of that disagreement.”

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Protesters say in addition to being illegal, the towing and impound fees they are being charged are punitive.

“$2,500 is a lot of money for anyone to pay — and honestly, the car probably isn’t even worth that much,” said a demonstrator who identified himself as Bozosapien.

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

Teal-Jones defended the fees to Global News, saying removing vehicles from the site of the Fairy Creek blockade was not the same as towing a car in the city.

“The cost of retrieving vehicles reflects the expense of towing vehicles out of a remote area, storage and security and the damage done to Teal-Jones,” the company said in a statement.

It comes as a B.C. Supreme Court judge hears arguments on whether or not to extend an injunction against demonstrators trying to block Teal-Jones from logging its timber licence in the area.

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

The company has applied for a one-year extension to the injunction, which is currently set to expire on Sept. 26.

On Thursday, Justice Douglas Thompson said he would consider new options to address the future of the injunction, and expressed concern about conflict between police and protesters at the site since Mounties began enforcing the order in May.

“Perhaps, the only thing everybody agrees upon right now is what’s being done is not working,” said Thompson, who instructed lawyers to come to court Friday prepared to discuss the structure of the injunction.

About 1,000 people have been arrested at the site so far.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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