BUST AT BASE CAMP
At 8.30 am on 4 February, NRE arrived at our base camp, situated on Goolengook Road, near Freddies Creek. The day before we had completed fortifying camp. It was now integrated into a 19 pole interconnected structure, including two quadpods and a ridgepole connecting them; and completely blocked vehicular access to the road. There was a bed-frame suspended from one of the quadpods about five metres from the ground, with someone sitting it. The ridgepole allowed access from this point to the other quadpod, enabling some mobility in the air in order to prevent the dismantling of the unpersoned quadpod. There were approximately 20 people at camp.
The NRE stated they wanted to get through in order to do pre-logging coup surveys on two Goolengook coups intended to be logged in the following weeks. Yet their timing was questionable as a couple of NRE officers had come to camp the day before whilst the structure was being completed - thus it seems this was just a convenient pretext for a bust.
The police were called and arrived at around 12.30. They moved everyone to the side of the road, and repeatedly asked the person up the structure to come down, which, of course, he didn't. The NRE staff then decided to chainsaw through a leg of the structure, with police approval; asserting that they did not believe the pole concerned was integral to the stability of the structure. This was not something they were in a position to ascertain beyond reasonable doubt. In order to counteract such intimidation tactics, and prevent the possible removal of the pole, a friend and I ran over and I jumped between the pole and the chainsaw, forcing the chainsaw wielding NRE officer to turn it off. After voicing my concerns regarding the NRE's irresponsible behavior, and demanding the police at least pretend to care about peoples safety; a small but inflated cop asked me to move, and on my refusal, I was arrested. During my arrest the activist who had run over with me grabbed on to me in protest, and was subsequently also arrested (without being told why). Both of us were left in the paddywagon for over an hour in 45 degree heat without water or shade. The chainsaw was put away without removing the pole.
In another dodgy but unsuccessful attempt to remove part of the structure, a rather bright NRE officer climbed a ladder he leant against one of the poles; and started to untie the lashing. The person on the structure quickly moved onto the ridgepole secured by the lashing being untied. This, combined with the realisation that he was unlashing the pole he was leaning against, convinced him to stop and come down, with further encouragement coming from a couple of activists shaking the ladder.
At 4.30, just when it seemed the police were about to give up and go home, the activist up the structure was intimidated into coming down by a monotonous but persistent cop. Another activist on the ground made a desperate attempt to climb up to continue defending the structure, but a cop grabbed her by the leg and pulled her down, where he continued pulling her leg until she let go of the pole. She was also arrested.
The structure was dismantled and all four arrestees were processed and released on summons. Regardless of the fact that what was potentially an unbustable structure ended up being dismantled, the NRE were successfully prevented from working for the entire day. They never came back to survey the proposed Goolengook coupes; and thus those coupes still haven't been logged.
We began rebuilding camp the following day.
Written by Nectaria
HOME - ABOUT GECO - FOREST INFO - GECO VIEWS - ACTIONS & EVENTS - ARCHIVE