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Anti-logging protester arrested after locking leg to cement-filled barrel on Highway 1 in Burnaby

Police say man faces mischief charges in relation to a protest on the Trans Canada Highway near the Willingdon Avenue exit Wednesday morning.

An anti-logging protester who shackled himself to a barrel filled with concrete on Highway 1 in Burnaby Wednesday faces mischief charges, according to police.

Burnaby RCMP were called to the highway near the Willingdon Avenue exit at about 7:45 a.m. for reports demonstrators had blocked all the westbound lanes, according to a police news release.

When officers arrived, the majority of the demonstrators left the area, the release said, but one man who had locked his ankle to a barrel filled with concrete stayed on the highway and refused to leave despite being given the opportunity to do so.

Police were able to “carefully move him to a safe area,” according to the release, and the fire department was called in to remove the lock from the man’s leg.

He was then arrested for mischief.

The demonstration resulted in all westbound lanes on the highway near Willingdon being closed for about 15 minutes, causing significant delays and traffic safety concerns, according to police.

The highway was fully re-opened at around 8:40 a.m.

It was the second such disruption in Metro Vancouver this week by Save Old Growth, a group calling for the end of all old-growth logging in the province.

“I am blocking the Trans-Canada Highway because 600-plus British Columbians died during the heat dome last summer,” said retired UBC professor Bill Winder in a statement. “The premier famously said that fatalities are a fact of life. We cannot accept fatalities that come from the government's neglect of its duty of care. Federal and provincial governments have egregiously neglected their duty to combat climate breakdown. It is up to us now to make sure the government understands that climate breakdown is not a fact of life - it is the end of life as we know it."

A total of 77 arrests have been made in relation to the protests so far this year.

Mischief charges were approved last month against three people who blocked the Willingdon Avenue off-ramp in January.

Police said participating demonstrators were given the chance to leave the area on their own, but three people refused to leave and were arrested.

“Demonstrators have a right to lawful, peaceful and safe protest, but this event created significant safety concerns for the travelling public and for those individuals who blocked this busy intersection during the morning commute,” Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said in a release.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor

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