Alan Mullen, chief of staff to the B.C. speaker says the priority of legislature staff is safety and security. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

A representative for the BC Legislature says the occupation of the building’s front steps appears to be a “fluid situation.”

Alan Mullen, chief of staff to B.C. speaker Darryl Plecas spoke to media Thursday afternoon in an effort to “clear up misconceptions” around the arrests of two demonstrators that morning.

He said heightened security concerns have led Plecas and other staff to close the building to the public, but they hope to reopen it “as soon as possible.”

READ ALSO: First arrests made at BC Legislature after demonstrators spray chalk on property

“It’s just out of a heightened concern for security within the precinct when we’re sitting … the decision was made to close it to the public,” he said, adding that pre-approved school groups and pre-arranged meetings are still being permitted inside.

“First and foremost is the safety and security of the precinct as well as everybody within the building here. That’s always going to be our number one concern.”

The decision comes four days into a second occupation led by Indigenous youth and allied groups demonstrating in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Asked how long he anticipates the demonstration will go on, Mullen said that remains unclear.

“I don’t know, it seems to be a kind of fluid situation for them, they seem to be kind of playing it by ear,” he said. “But we are thankful, like we’ve said, since this began, we are the biggest fans of peaceful and respectful protest.”

Mullen said the morning’s arrests came when legislature security spotted “a couple of people” spray painting in several places on the precinct, including the newly-paved driveway, on the wall “just east of the west annex across the premier’s office,” and behind the library to the back of the building.

Two young women were arrested, taken into custody and charged with mischief, Mullen said. They were then processed and released, with charges still pending. The women have been banned from the property – a ban that may be reviewed in the future.

“It was viewed to be criminal activity – mischief under the criminal code,” he said. “Aside from peaceful protest or any kind of protest, this speaker and I’m sure every speaker will not tolerate, at any time, illegal activity here on the legislative precinct.”

The protective officers did not get orders from the Victoria Police Department, which has had members present on the grounds since Monday when a second occupation began.

Demonstrators on site said security officers were aware that the paint being used was soluble chalk, despite looking like spray paint. The group said a legal observer was on site but “refused access to witness the arrest.”

READ ALSO: Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria hold mass day-long teach-in



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Fernie’s Snow Valley Lodging allows the mountain love stories to continue. (Photo Contributed)
Ski-bum love: Shred Kelly’s Mountain Town Love Story Contest kicks off

The competition invites both tales of heartwarming romance or debauched misadventure

Where a five-point bull elk shot in a bow-only area near Sparwood. (Photo contributed by Conservation Officer Service.)
Conservation Officers seek info on bull elk shot in bow-only area

The five-point bull elk was shot near Sparwood on Oct. 18

The most recent council meeting was streamed via Zoom on Oct. 20. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
District of Sparwood revisits support for no-cost contraception

Representatives from Sparwood Contraception Access Advocates brough the matter back to council

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Jack Vellutini, 100, is still making sweet music. Photo: Submitted
Music stirs memories as Trail serenader nears 101st birthday

Jack Vellutini gave his brass instruments to Trail up-and-comers so the legacy of music can live on

BC ELECTION
B.C. political leaders reflect on rural health care as election looms

NDP leader John Horgan, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson talk health care priorities in the Kootenays

Most Read