Treesit Now on High Alert!

As many of you may know, the city of Langford had publicly declared on their website and in at a November Open House that they intended to begin development this December. There have been two events at the sit recently that lead us to believe that THIS IS NOT A BLUFF! Two uniformed RCMP came by the camp to assess what and who is there, and to gather the intelligence necessary to have the sit removed. Within days of that a work crew showed up with chain saws and tried to remove a banner from the side of the highway. They were stopped by the sitters and gave up easily but they documented the process and thus gathered evidence that they will likely need in order to have an injunction granted for them to have the sit removed.
Shortly after that first visit, 8 RCMP officers and two Langford by-law enforcement officers returned to take more pictures and GPS readings. Since then survey crews have arrived at the tree-sit on two occasions, only to be turned away peacefully by treesitters who would not allow them to do their work.
We are now over a month past the date that the city announced that it would begin clearing land on. As yet, the city has not applied for an injunction to remove the tree-sit. A recent closed door meeting of city council pushed through all three readings of a by-law that would allow the city to borrow $25 million for the developers to begin the interchange. Langford residents responded quickly to this underhanded tactic and took to the streets with a large and well-organized petition campaign to demand a non-binding referendum.
We must still assume that the city is preparing to move SOON to have the sit taken away and construction begin. THIS MEANS THAT ANY TIME WE MUST PREPARED TO FACE THE REMOVAL OF THE SIT. We need your support now more than ever. Come on down and SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TREESITTERS! If you've ever wondered what it's like to sleep 140 feet up the side of a douglas fir or red cedar, then this is your chance. Food, gear, tree-climbing lessons and civil disobedience lessons will be provided.
Even if you can't spend any time at the tree-sit, consider coming out to join the crowd if and when the city gets an injunction and the RCMP come to enforce it. Civil disobedience trainings have been happening in several places around the region, and there are many people who will not sit quietly by if attempts are made to remove the tree-sit.

1 comment:

Kalanu said...

According to phone contact I had today with Zoe on the ground and one of the treesitters up one of the trees, RCMP arrived at the end of Leigh Rd. this evening and drove into a barricade that protesters had erected.
The barricade had gone up yesterday after a peaceful confrontation between treesit volunteers and a pair of private surveyors contracted by the City of Langford. Local media and supporters came out to witness the treesitters refusing to allow the surveyors to carry out work, resulting in the surveyors packing up and going home.
In the past two nights RCMP (and Langford by-law enforcement) have been going out to the treesit to remove whatever 'chattel' the treesitters have placed at the end of Leigh Ave.
Apparently tonight police drove their cruiser into a culvert dug in what used to be the parking area, and in their agitated state announced that everyone was about to be arrested. When asked what the charge was, the police responded 'obstruction', to which the campers asked "obstruction of what?" The police then reminded the campers that it was illegal to have a fire without a permit and that they needed to move their chattel into the forest.
Several of the protesters quickly scrambled up trees while the police grabbed one of the ground crew and detained him in their cruiser.
Calls went out to supporters in the city and we prepared to activate the phone-tree and mobilize mass support.
The crew member was eventually released, and the RCMP were able to remove their cruiser from the trench without the use of a tow-truck. The treesitters are now waiting to see when and how officers will attempt to remove the barricade. Ground crew are now needed to camp out at the treesit in anticipation of RCMP returning at any moment.
The City of Langford does not have an injunction against the treesitters, and the treesitters have been doing nothing illegal. It is not expected that RCMP will attempt to extract people from trees without this injunction.
However, the harassment will continue, as the City of Langford attempts to move people out of the woods without having to go through the trouble of such difficult and sensational extractions.
The way it seems to work here downtown is that when the police attempt to remove homeless people from the street, they first create a need to check the person's ID to see if they have warrants outstanding. This same tactic is used at protest camps everywhere, and is used to reduce the number of people that police would have to extract later, when dozens of people are chained to trees and hundreds of people are watching and videotaping.
As far as I know, none of the treesitters or ground crew have outstanding warrants, so these tactics are just a waste of everyone's time. We invite the RCMP, Langford Municipal By-Law and everyone working overtime this holiday season attempting to provoke the treesitters to take some time to be with their families instead of continuing to serve the interests of groups like WFP, Bear Mountain and their politician cronies. We invite them to stand in solidarity with us against the forces of greed and destruction that have been exploiting all of us, including the police.
This treesitters and their supporters are not intimidated by this latest round of attacks, and we are as firm in our resolve as ever.
There is definitely an edge of tension at the treesit (and here in the homes of those of us waiting for THAT phone call.), but I have faith in the level-headedness and maturity of all those involved, especially the treesitters. This interchange will not happen, and the treesitters will not be moved, especially not by petty provocations by the city's enforcers of un-justice.

-Kalanu
Spaet Mountain Action Coalition
Dec.22, 2007