KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – After 23 days Jacob Fillmore is ending his hunger strike in support of a temporary clearcutting moratorium on Nova Scotia Crown lands. He made the announcement during a well-attended rally at Province House, the third one in as many weeks.
“I am feeling increasingly weaker, especially mentally things are getting harder and harder,” he told an appreciative and grateful crowd.
This fight is far from over. As I take a step back folks across the province are stepping up,” he said.
“If asking politely doesn’t work, we are not afraid to resort to peaceful nonviolent direct action. When I started my hunger strike, I was in despair. I saw the destruction of the environment happening around me and I could not figure out how to change it. Civil disobedience though, has a history of working. We must stand up against this government that refuses to listen, refuses to even meet with us,” said Fillmore.
The Halifax rally wasn’t the only one to happen this morning. There were additional rallies all across Nova Scotia, in Yarmouth, Bridgewater, Annapolis Royal, Masstown and Wolfville.
As well, this morning rural activists coordinated by Extinction Rebellion occupied Department of Lands and Forestry (DLF) offices across Nova Scotia. In Halifax, activists sat in at the DLF and at Premier Rankin’s office. Minister of DLF, Chuck Porter’s office in Windsor is also occupied. Some 10 offices in all are affected, involving 40 activists, Fillmore told reporters at the rally.
Jacob’s mother also spoke at the rally.
“It’s easy to read about what’s going on around the world and feel despair, to drive past a clear cut and feel like someone punched you in the gut, or to witness the puppet masters manipulating our politicians and feel hopeless. But I prefer to focus on the positive. So I’d like to talk about this community,” she said.
“In the past three weeks Jacob has been able to shine a spotlight on the issue of clear cutting in Nova Scotia. But Jacob isn’t here alone, and he couldn’t have done it by himself. Back in December, when Jacob started his protest, someone offered to collect money to buy him a winter tent, and within hours they had collected $600. Countless people brought him food over the holidays, while dozens of forest protectors were blocking the logging roads for weeks on end. Hundreds of supporters have written letters and emails or made phone calls, thousands signed postcards and petitions.”
The anti-clearcutting movement has gained a lot of momentum since in the late fall of last year some ten forest protectors initiated a blockade of two logging roads in Digby County to make sure that an important stretch of habitat of the nearly extinct mainland moose would not be clearcut. They stayed there for eight wintery weeks, until served with an injunction and arrested by RCMP.
Nina Newington, one of these forest protectors, spoke at the rally.
“We don’t bring money to the struggle, but we bring courage and ingenuity, daring and determination, we bring love and rage. I don’t want to act out of that rage, but it’s there because I hate to watch the destruction of Mother Earth in the interest of profits. We know better. nature does not belong to us, we belong to nature,” Newington said.
“This is a shot across the bow of the government. We’re taking the baton from Jacob, we are stepping up our efforts. We’re working on a plan that’s going to mobilize people across this province to protect the forests. You’ll be hearing more,” Newington said.
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