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

Surrey RCMP not seeing ‘significant loss’ in ranks because of COVID-19

Surrey Mounties say they have a good tracking system to keep tabs on police officers experiencing an illness

Supreme Court upholds White Rock council decision on Lady Alexandra development

Planned 12-storey highrise on lower Johnston Road was stalled in 2018

‘Potentially life-threatening’ injuries in South Surrey crash

152 Street closed in both directions between Colebrook Road and 40 Avenue

No final high school game for Surrey all-stars; six scholarship winners named

COVID-19 forces cancellation of all-star games for boys and girls at Enver Creek gym April 3

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read