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November 29

Humboldt County: Forest Defenders Released Days After Log Truck Protest

Report from Earth First! Humboldt on ongoing direct actions to save Rainbow Ridge in Northern California.

Two activists, who had been arrested in conjunction to a protest where an activist locked their body to the underside of a log truck in an attempt to prevent access to Rainbow Ridge, were released from Humboldt County jail after being held for 48 hours.

The protest occurred at 4:30 a.m. Monday, at Fox Camp Gate on the western boundary of Humboldt Redwood State Park on the Mattole Road. A dozen forest defenders rallied while one activist locked their arms to the front axle of a log truck, blocking access to Humboldt Redwood Company’s Rainbow Ranch logging site for seven hours on the last day of operations before winter weather was forecasted.

“We were surprised to see Lear security show up.  They spent the summer up on Rainbow [Ridge] harassing activists, chasing folks through the woods,  trying to starve out tree sitters. We’d been told their contract was over. This time they just stood by until the sheriffs arrived,” commented a forest defender who goes by Weaver.

Humboldt County Sheriffs arrived at 7:45am, and arrested two activists. “Both of the folks arrested were in non-confrontational support roles. I went to speak to the deputies and explain that we were on public property, and was immediately detained.  Afterwards another friend was arrested while dispersing as ordered,” said Weaver.

The protest took place in an area that has seen many forest defense actions in the last two decades. The road itself is shared by the Humboldt Redwood State Park and Humboldt Redwood Company, though most of the road is on state park property. It serves as both a hiking and equestrian trail for the public, and the main access point for trucks and machinery headed to HRC’s Rainbow Ranch timber harvest plan.

“Deputy Mendes used a pocketknife, solvents, an angle grinder, and bolt cutters to remove me from the steel lockbox, then dragged me out from under the truck,” said Isabel Osheroff, the protester who locked their body to the log truck. Osheroff continued, “I was not hurt, but I easily could have been. The county is wasting limited resources by holding nonviolent activists on misdemeanor charges.”

In court Wednesday, the public defender’s office asserted that the arrestees were continuing a legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience, and that they were acting out of conscience to protect the forest and are working towards a “righteous cause.”

Two arrestees face trial in December, while a third has yet to be charged.

“Deforestation, a major contributor to climate change, will continue on a global scale if we do not actively stop it,” Osheroff commented. “I put my body on the line Monday because I know that we cannot afford to lose any more forest habitat.”

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