Members of a ‘counter protest’ at last Saturday’s rally against the Kings Forest development are accused of behaving in a threatening manner.
Protesters claim they felt intimidated by a group of employees and contractors of the developer who descended on the peaceful protest.
The small group, described as a ‘rent-a-crowd’ by protesters, wore vests bearing the name of the developer Leda, but rejected a claim they were put up by the developer to disrupt the community protest. Most came in Queensland-registered cars, some saying they drove from Ipswich.
Leda regional manager Reg Van Rij, who chatted with them throughout the rally, told Echonetdaily they came on their own accord and that ‘it’s a democracy’.
They used generic pro-Kings Forest placards from a ute bearing a loadful of them.
Most refused to give media their names. Some were drinking alcohol. One of them was overheard saying ‘I wish I’d brought my shotgun,’ while others taunted protesters, saying there were no koalas left on the site as wild dogs had got them all.
Rally participant Andrea Vickers said others linked to the group ‘hooned in and out’ of the protest area doing ‘wheelies’ as they left.
‘It felt uncomfortable and intimidating; many speakers also were afraid to talk for fear they were being recorded and could be threatened with legal action,’ she said.