30 August, 2012

A calm approach at Mt St Leonard

Steve Meacher


Mt St Leonard logging. Credit: Steve Meacher


Aerial photo of Central Highlands logging. Credit: Sarah Rees

Good afternoon forest friends,

After a squally start, it's been a beautiful day up here in Toolangi, reminding us that winter is coming to a close.

Despite the early wind and rain, a small but significant action took place this morning at Leo's Foot coupe on the western face of Mount St Leonard (see attached photo, taken today). Having seen four early log-trucks leave the coupe fully-laden and a kangaroo hopping out of the way in a panic, soon after 7:00am members of the local community walked cheerfully but calmly into the log landing area and settled down on the logs to await events. There was no immediate response from contractors present other than to make some brief 'phone calls. A VicForests officer walked by without comment.

After a while DSE officers arrived followed by the police. The conduct of the police was friendly but one of the group was singled out and separated from the others. Unbowed, she took the opportunity to explain how the DSE is failing to uphold its charter by not protecting native forests and Leadbeater's Possum.

Meanwhile, the main group were asking the police about so-called "citizens' arrests", as allegedly encouraged on their website by Friends of Fibbers. The police gave clear assurance that such behaviour was not an appropriate response to non-violent protest. One officer also commended the community on the peaceful conduct of its extended campaign.

Having achieved their aims in dignity and with mutual respect, today's protesters agreed to leave the coupe without arrest. It was a deliberately low-key, non-confrontational event, designed to demonstrate that the aggressive and violent behaviour shown by a few rogue logging contractors towards activists at recent protests will not be allowed to prevail.

In this, it was a total success. Thanks and congratulations to all involved. Once again, Toolangi stands tall!

For the forests,

Steve

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