RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

The RCMP cut free seven activists chained to a downtown Kelowna credit union branch and arrested them for mischief on Monday.

The group of environmental and animal rights activists chained themselves to the exterior doors of Interior Savings Credit Union early Monday morning to protest the credit union’s support of Ribfest.

Teghan Gordey, an activist with the group, met with representatives of the Interior Savings around 10:30 a.m. and was told the credit union would not drop its sponsorship of the event, a fundraiser for local Rotary clubs.

Shortly after, the RCMP told activists they would be arrested and charged with mischief. No one was hurt during the arrests.

Following the arrests Amy Soranno, told the media she was disappointed in the credit union’s decision and vowed the protesters would continue to escalate their tactics to get their message across.

“We’re uncomfortable, we’re in pain and we’re cold. But mostly we’re upset,” said Soranno. “We are very disappointed with Interior Savings and we hope that eventually, they’ll come to their senses and realize that being on the right side is stopping sponsorship of Ribfest.”

According to the group of activists, it wants the bank to drop its sponsorship because animal agriculture destroys the environment and the festival allegedly uses meat from farms that have been accused of animal cruelty.

“We’ve done legal protests for many years now. Our concerns have been ignored, they haven’t been addressed so as I said extreme times call for extreme measures,” said Soranno, prior to their arrest.

“We will go as far as necessary until either the police remove us or until Interior Savings agrees to drop their sponsorship of Ribfest.”

Kelowna RCMP Sgt. Greg Woodcox said he spoke with the protesters and told credit union management officials why they were there.

“They understand that people have the right to protest,” said Woodcox, about two hours before the peaceful arrest of the activists.

A spokeswoman for Interior Savings confirmed it met with the group to hear their concerns about the sponsorship of the event.

“Interior Savings’ approach is to work with groups across its membership to support events that bring the community together, are well-received by the public, and in many instances, raise tens of thousands of dollars to support the important work being done by local non-profits in our communities,” wrote Sue Manzuik, a community engagement specialist, in a news release.

“Ribfest is one of those events, raising thousands of dollars to support local charities including Jo-Anna’s House — a home away from home for people whose families are receiving life-saving support from Kelowna General Hospital.”

She noted Ribfest offers free and accessible entertainment and offers a selection of food options to suit people’s preferences and the credit union remains committed to supporting the community event.

“Interior Savings’ appreciates and respects that everyone has a right to their opinion, to share their opinion and to choose a diet that makes sense for them,” wrote Manzuik.

“Interior Savings remains committed to supporting top-notch community events that raise tens of thousands of dollars for those in our community who need a helping hand.”

In July, a similar Ribfest protest was held by a group called the Kelowna Climate Save. The group used chalk to mark the sidewalks outside Interior Saving to express their concern about the impact animal agriculture has on the planet.

—With files from Dan Taylor and Twila Amato

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Seven activists were arrested on Monday morning after chaining themselves to Interior Savings Credit Union in downtown Kelowna. (Dan Taylor - Kelowna Capital News)

A group of environmental and animal rights activists held signs on Monday morning in front of Interior Savings Credit Union, which sponsors Kelowna RibFest. (Dan Taylor - Capital News)

Just Posted

Summerhill Winery proposes college for sustainable food production

The proposed Culinary College for Humanity will help to develop a sustainable food culture

Kelowna woman reported missing

Kiana Haner Wilk’s family has not been able to contact her since Tuesday evening

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue helps off-roaders stuck on KVR trail

The group called for help around 9 p.m. last night

Kelowna career fair offers new opportunities

Don’t miss the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair in Kelowna, March 12.

Central Okangan Search and Rescue help save three men in eight days

All three men were snowmobiling in the backcountry when they got lost

Kelowna Capital News donates archives to UBCO

Kelowna Capital News donated materials dating from 1980 to 2000

Shuswap protest blockade temporarily lifted following negotiation with CP Rail

Onus placed on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

LETTER: Forestry practices will affect property values

Logging these water purifying ecosystems affects B.C. communities

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

MLA Larson deals with abuse and threats

Oliver office has a buzz-in system, and panic buttons

LETTER: Thanks to Fyffe Road Snow Angel

Snow-clearing efforts have been appreciated

Most Read