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Bob Brown, former leader of the Greens, was arrested for participating in a logging protest in Tasmania.

Dr. Brown is an active defender of Tasmania’s giant trees which has seen him detained for various trespass offences.

Former Greens Party leader Bob Brown and two supporters have been arrested and charged over a logging protest in Tasmania at a harvesting site in the Styx Valley, near Mount Field National Park.

Before being transferred to Bridgewater Police Station, Dr. Brown held an impromptu press conference from the back of a police vehicle, telling an AAP reporter that loggers from Forestry Tasmania had clear-fell logged up to five giant trees from an area close to the boundary of a world heritage area.

Dr. Brown said the area the felled trees occupied should not have been designated outside the World Heritage zone due to it being home to Eucalyptus regnans, one of the world’s tallest flowering plants, which can grow to 100 metres.

“The World Heritage Convention requires that areas of potential World Heritage value shouldn’t be logged, but we haven’t been over that whole coupe. One of those trees is 3.3m in diameter,” Dr. Brown said, before calling on state and federal governments to put an immediate halt to logging operations in the state.

The veteran protestor has had brushes with the law as far back as 1982 when he spent 19 days in prison for his involvement in disrupting the planned Gordon-below-Franklin Dam project.

He actively campaigned in 1972 to save Lake Pedder in Tasmania, which was eventually drowned to allow for the construction of dams for the Gordon hydroelectric power scheme.

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The former senator is a passionate defender of Tasmania’s giant trees which has seen him detained for various trespass offenses.

In January 2016, he was arrested in the Lapoinya Forest in Tasmania, for disrupting logging preparations and charged with an offense under the Tasmania’s Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014.

Former Australian Greens leader and environmentalist Bob Brown is facing one charge of trespass (Courtesy of Matthew Newton)
Former Australian Greens leader and environmentalist Bob Brown is facing one charge of trespass (Courtesy of Matthew Newton)

In a 2005 landmark Freedom of Speech case that referenced the Protestors Act, Brown brought proceedings against Forestry Tasmania in the Federal Court to protect Wielangta Forest by incorporating the area into a broader reserve that offered “full protection” to the home of several endangered species from clear-fell logging.

He was arrested along with Kristy Lee Alger and Karen Lynne Weldrick for allegedly trespassing in Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers Forrest Reserve on Nov. 8, 2022.

On 31 January this year, a judge ordered the suspension of forestry operations in an area purportedly home to the rare Swift Parrot, with Brown saying outside court in Hobart that the judge’s ruling was a “huge win for Tasmania’s forests. We will be bringing more experts and more surveillance of the logging of these forests.”

One of his supporters was identified as Dr. Colette Harmsen, a veterinarian and forest activist, who served a three-month sentence in Mary Hutchinsons Women’s Prison for her activism around Tasmania’s native forests. She became the first woman to serve time for environmental activism.

The second supporter, Ali Alishah, was arrested for a similar offense on Feb. 16. Both are currently on bail.

Tasmania Police confirmed three people had been charged with trespass, and four others will be issued with infringement notices.

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