This blog was written by Andrea MacDonald on behalf of Christine Leclerc, who is currently participating in an action against Costco in Kelowna. Andrea was an activist on Monday in the action against Safeway in Victoria.
This morning Greenpeace activists headed out to Costco in Kelowna. Costco came in third last in Greenpeace's most recent Oceans report: Out of Stock Out of Excuses (which ranks supermarkets on the sustainability of their seafood, or lack thereof). Despite many attempts, Costco has refused to communicate with Greenpeace regarding the Out of Stock campaign. Since Costco wouldn't come to Greenpeace we decided to come to them.
|Activists with banner outside entrance to Costco.|
3 activists, from Vancouver, Victoria and Edmonton went inside the store where they load canned RedList seafood into a cart and chained it to an open fish freezer. The activists released a floating banner which read: Don't Buy, Don't Sell Redlist Seafood.
Outside the store several activists hung a large fish skeleton and a colourful barometer used to displayed the rankings of all the supermarkets in the report. The activists wore fish costumes, held banners and gave out pamphlets to customers many of whom seemed receptive to our presence.
|Struture set up outside Costco and activist with banner.|
6 media outlets quickly arrived on scene. They interviewed the activists outside, including Sarah King Oceans campaigner. Costco customers were also interviewed however Costco employees and management refused to respond when approached by the media.
Kelowna RCMP officers arrived shortly after the indoor activists were in place however they refrained from arresting the activists. We believe arrests were not made because Costco wanted to avoid negative publicity. The activists are still in place and will remain in the store until they feel their message has been received and it is appropriate to leave.
UPDATE: The 3 activists inside the store have been arrested. It seems Costco simply waited for the media presence to disperse before leading the activists to a paddy wagon at the back entrance. Local media has been alerted and we are awaiting the activists release from police custody.
UPDATE 2: Shortly after our activists were removed from the store (1 was escorted, 2 were carried out) it was discovered that Police released a media update about an hour and a half before arresting the activists saying they faced arrest if they chose not to leave the store. However the release also makes it seem as if the activists were given permission to remain in the store:
(exerpt from police report) Three others, however, went inside the store to continue the protest. They were asked by staff to leave the store but they refused. Police were called to deal with the three, who faced arrest and charges of Assault by Trespass. An agreement was reached with the protesters and management, who allowed the protesters to stay as long as they remained cooperative and peaceful in their actions
Journalists who received this media release were, understandably, confused to hear that our activists were later arrested.
Someone needs to get their information straight.