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

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read