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

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

COVID-19: Old Massett Emergency Operations Centre erects three checkpoints

Old Massett Village Council letter says checkpoint locations are New Town, Yakan Point, Old Massett

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read