The blockade was stopping logging activity in the area and featured a full-sized replica pirate ship built on the road.

Forestry Tasmania’s Kim Creak said that the protest camp was preventing forestry operations.

“To date, Forestry Tasmania has been undertaking harvesting and replanting in alternative locations, to avoid the activists,” said Mr Creak in a statement. “However, Forest Practices Plans for this area have recently been approved by the Forest Practices Authority, and we now require access.”

An exclusion zone has been declared over the whole area, preventing anyone not specifically authorised by Forestry Tasmania from entering.

About 30 police were involved in the initial operation to remove the camp on Wednesday morning. One person was arrested.

One other protester locked-on to a car in order to thwart police efforts in removing the camp. He was talked off the lock-on about four hours later and left the area without being charged.

Another nearby blockade was removed without arrests.

SMS alerts were sent out among the personal networks of the activists to alert people to the bust, and to call a snap action in Hobart that afternoon.

During that action around 20 people stopped a log truck on the road. 

Two protesters chained themselves to the bull-bar of the truck, and face proceedings for committing a nuisance.

Since that time reports from protesters indicate that there has been a small but well appointed police presence in the forest, complete with caravan, generator, communications tower and portaloo.

A lone tree-sitter is still in the area, after refusing to descend on Wednesday. The tree-sit was being held up by a rope running from the mast of the pirate ship, but this line was redirected so the ship could be demolished and road work commence.

On Thursday about 50 people defied police to enter the forest and halt the road work. There were two arrests, with one spending the night in remand after having been arrested the previous day. An additional two people were charged by summons over the day’s events, including Gunns 20 defendant Lou Geraghty.

On Friday one person was arrested for locking on to a bulldozer and another arrested when attempting to do the same.

Four people were arrested on Saturday, including one who had been arrested the previous day. An out of hours hearing at the Magistrate’s Court in Hobart on Saturday night saw him held on remand for the remainder of the weekend. He is expected to appear in court today.

The Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Webber said that 100 people walked into the area yesterday. There were no arrests.

Despite the disruptions, and the continued presence of activists in the area, Forestry Tasmania have been able to recommence the road works stopped by the camp for over a year. The road has been pushed to the edge of Eddy Creek, previously a 45 minute walk through the forest from the now demolished pirate ship. The road cannot go any further without additional surveying work, but needs to be widened before logging operations can start.

Activists have set up a vigil camp outside the industrial forestry complex Southwood, which is on the edge of the exclusion zone.


Simon Brown  is a journalist and radio producer. http:// http://www.simonleobrown.info/
(Disclosure: Simon Brown is a defendant in the so-called Gunns 20 litigation.)

Earlier: Images of a protest
 

Simon Brown

Protests will continue in the Weld Valley in Tasmania’s south today, after a police raid last Wednesday morning closed down the long running Camp Weld blockade.