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February 1, 2023

Veteran Forest campaigner says she was ‘targeted’ by police

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Long-time forest campaigner and North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson, Susie Russell, was arrested yesterday at Bulga State Forest and given bail conditions prohibiting her from entering into any part of the Bulga Forest.

The arrest came as the Save Bulga Forest community ramped up their campaign of civil disobedience calling for an end to logging native forests and in particular the Bulga Forest.

Long-time forest campaigner Susie Russell is arrested by police. Image NEFA

‘It was clear I was singled out for arrest,’ Ms Russell said.

‘There were about 30 people on site supporting a young tripod-sitter. I was there, but diligently keeping outside the boundary of the closed area, which was tricky because the distance that was closed was not specified in the closure notice, so I erred on the side of caution.

‘Police arrived on the scene just after 7am and spent half an hour walking around talking to different participants. They then went back to their vehicles for a huddle, presumably discussing how they were going to approach the situation. During that time the forest protectors were milling around and chatting in small groups.

‘I left the area near my vehicle and walked the 30 odd meters to make sure the tripod-sitter was ok. When I got there, there was a child hugging an adult size koala. I took a couple of photos and then walked back around to my vehicle. The whole exercise took about five minutes.

‘Almost immediately afterwards the police inspector approached me by name and said I was under arrest for entering a prohibited area. This while there were plenty of people making merry in the “prohibited” area and several colleagues in a similar situation to mine, freely moved backwards and forwards to chat.

‘I have no doubt I was arrested in order to try and limit my involvement in the campaign. It has however, made my resolve stronger.’

‘I have watched the forests of my region being steadily degraded over three decades. In the 1990’s a spotlighting trip through these forests would reveal dozens of Greater Gliders. Now we are lucky to see one. There is nothing ecologically sustainable about this logging. It is smash and grab and runs at a loss. These forests will take centuries to recover.

‘I feel I owe it to young people and to those lives without voice, to not stand by in silence while the destruction continues. I will continue to speak for the trees.’

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  1. Susie was here in Lismore when we needed help after the devastating floods. She helped set up the Trees Not Bombs food tent which provided hot food and drinks free to everyone. Susie is one of Lismore’s heroes.
    She deserves our respect, not arrest.

  2. For as long as Susie continues trying to force her extremist view – that we should turn our backs on renewable resources and use for minerals and fossil fuels in acclimate emergency – on society, I hope they continue to target her and the chiefs of this extremist disruption


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