Forest Rescue Australia (FRA) has heightened its protest actions halting Warrup logging on an almost daily basis - however at the price of arrests. A Forest Products Commission (FPC) spokeswoman confirmed that protestors had entered work areas on three separate days in the last ten days and on two occasions had locked themselves on to two logging machines while work continued in other parts of the operation.
On Monday 19, FRA protestors entered the Warrup logging area and one protestor managed to lock himself on to a logging machine for 15 hours.
FRA coordinator, Simon Peterffy said he was disappointed at the arrest of protestors. He said usually the police moved on the protestors and preferred not to arrest anyone. "On Monday, disappointingly the police swooped and arrested a number of folk who were only doing their civic and just duty to protect the forests and the numbat colony. We never do anything criminal, that's not us," said Mr Peterffy.
Mr Peterffy said that five protestors were charged by Bridgetown Police on the Monday, including #@2#&! - retrospectively, for trespass. "We did not trespass, no-one told anyone to leave, and we will refuse bail conditions and take this straight to a hearing."
The police confiscated $2,000 worth of video equipment and film footage - "They should not have done this, and with this is our evidence-gathering and evidence of the Forest Product Commission's wrong-doing, they're the ones breaking all the rules," he said.
Mr Peterffy said that the protestors are here to stay and that they should not be underestimated in terms of their vigilance to put themselves right on the line to protect the forests and threatened species. "If we don't then who will? We have set up a base near Bridgetown and there are more than 20 FRA activists there at any one time." He said that resources and donations are coming in from many sources including state and federal politicians.
"We have saved forests in these parts before, in 1998 and in 2002, so people can't go around saying that what we do isn't right or doesn't get results when in fact some of the forests left for them to enjoy and view is because of us, past and present activists," he said.
FRA coordinator Simon Peterffy said logging in Warrup is endangering the largest remaining numbat habitat in the south west. The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) refutes this - a spokeswoman said that measures are taken to protect numbat habitats and numbats are not harmed.
On Monday March 12 the FRA activists entered Warrup to stop the logging and that they confronted the small team of contracted loggers. Mr Peterffy said that a couple of the workers tried to 'intimidate' the activists by driving a bulldozer towards them. The FPC has an on site FPC supervisor to manage operations.
"(One of our activitists) managed to 'lock on' to a log loader. A young female activist thumb locked herself to the front of a machine which effectively stopped work for the duration of the 'lock on'," said Mr Peterffy.
On Wednesday morning, March 14, Mr Peterffy said the FRA returned to Warrup. "Three activists 'locked on' to logging machines." This brought logging to a halt for several hours till Bridgetown police arrived.
"Three activists locked on to a slider and a loader, stopping work, costing the FPC profits, saving the numbat habitat for another day," said Mr Peterffy.
"The loggers have started to think this is all a big game, using their machinery like toddlers, Tonka trucks... intimidating protestors who are using non-violent protest to prevent ecocide," he said.
Mr Peterffy said the FRA will make complaints to various authorities and that the FRA will upload a 6 minute YouTube clip of the confrontations.
10 truckloads of logs leave Warrup each day. The FPC has confirmed that it is half way to the production of 3,000 tonnes of logs from Warrup in this twelve week effort.