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

South Okanagan real estate market adjusting to ‘new normal’

Numbers are up in March; however, industry insiders say the market has cooled

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

Law enforcement will patrol shuttered campgrounds in Cascades this weekend

Patrols will enforce provincial order requiring all such facilities remain closed during COVID-19

Campfires still permitted in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Restrictions have been implemented elsewhere within valley

Summerland parks remain open for passive use

Users urged to maintain physical distancing to slow spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

Public warned to stay away from algae bloom near Herald Park in Shuswap Lake

Interior Health states that people, pets should not drink the water in the area or touch the algae

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

South Shuswap residents criticize upgrades to Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Reliance on frontage roads and narrow underpasses near Blind Bay not good enough

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

COVID-19: No more international flights at Kelowna International Airport

All international flights at YLW have been suspended, airport to operate just nine flights a day

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Most Read