A group of environmental and animal rights activists chained themselves to the doors of Interior Savings Credit Union on Monday morning. (Dan Taylor - Kelowna Capital News)

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.

Twitter

“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.

During that protest, 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

READ MORE: Kelowna RibFest targeted by environmental activists


Paul Clarke
Assistant bureau chief, B.C. Interior South Division
Follow me on Twitter

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

 

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 - Kelowna Capital News)

Just Posted

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Commercial salmon fisheries delayed for Bella Coola area

DFO notice says Area C gill net fisheries in Area 8 have been delayed until June 15

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read