Mattole Raids Continue Into 5th Week
For Immediate Release
Early this morning (May 2nd) Humboldt County Sheriff's, Dept. of Fish and Game, and Columbia helicopter crew vehicles rolled through Monument Gate. This is the largest onslaught of law enforcement in several weeks determined to chase and arrest forest defenders who are determined to stop Maxxam/Pacific Lumber's logging of old-growth Douglas Fir. For the past 151 days, activists living in the Mattole and surviving the snow, wind, rain, and nearly five weeks of constant raids, have halted clearcutting in this sensitive old-growth ecosystem. Since April 2nd, 2001, Sheriff's Deputies have consistently burned activists gear, chased forest defenders through the woods, resulting in several injuries, and have arrested seventeen. Still, the activists hold vigilant and up to 20 forest defenders remain hidden in the area.
Yesterday, Tuesday, May 1st, 2001, seven Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept. vehicles rolled into the Rainbow Ridge/Long Ridge area. The Humboldt County Sheriffs were again accompanied by the California Department of Fish & Game, who combed the forests, chased activists, and arrested four people; one woman and three men. A later account, from the forest, reported three Sheriff's Dept. vehicles, two Scopac trucks, and six unmarked vehicles, for a total of eleven vehicles on site.
Activists calling from jail reported a surveillance helicopter , yesterday, which was flying around, chasing activist, and providing information for the arresting officers; however, the helicopter was grounded due to high winds, about halfway through the day. One of the arrested activists had been arrested before, and served with SLAPP papers, just a week prior to yesterday's raid, and had been released with a $10 infraction; his bail now stands at $50,000, for violating the restraining order imposed upon him by the SLAPP suit. None of the other three activists had been previously arrested in the Mattole, or served SLAPP papers, until yesterday.
Maxxam/Pacific Lumber has filed a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) against North Coast Earth First!, the Mattole Forest Defenders, and several of the Mattole Watershed private residents. Anyone arrested in connection with the Mattole are served with complaints, and added to this SLAPP suit. Once served, a restraining order is placed upon the individuals, forbidding them from entering onto Maxxam/PL property; The four activists arrested were Recon, Bongdung, Homer, and Cypress. The woman, Cypress, remains non-compliant, refusing to give her legal name to the police, and it took six officers to carry her limp body out of the steep slopes of the Mattole. We await further information from the arrestees.
"All this for more goshawk surveys? Hardly. The activists have no intention of disrupting the surveyors, yet the powers of the state are pouring thousands of tax dollars into , chasing, arresting and detaining forest activists, while Maxxam operates in total disregard to concerns by the Water Quality Board, to the Endangered Species Act, and to the existing state and local environmental protection laws, and the will of the people," said one activist, named Shunka. Concerned citizens are encouraged to call the Dept. of Fish and Game, and talk to Steve Conger, about the use of state-funded employees to enforce the will of an incorrigible corporation, and let your voices be heard, about the excessive waste of resources being used to harass, harangue, and endanger these non-violent activists, who are trying, in earnest, to protect the fish, game, and forests of the Mattole.
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