In the early morning hours of April 2, the tree-sitter Warbler was removed from her perch by climbers and armed CHP cops and quickly thereafter, authorities went after the other tree-sitters, sometimes violently. Warbler was in a somewhat weakened condition from her hunger strike started last week, and the climbers told her they were using “any means necessary” to remove her from the tree. She is continuing her protest hunger strike on the ground.
At least 50 CHP officers, many in riot gear, some armed, went after the other four tree-sitters. Observers documented the CHP pointing rifles directly at sitters at close range, from “cherry-picker” truck buckets high in the air. When one sitter did not get in the bucket to be lowered down, the officers fired bean bag rounds at him. While seen as a non-lethal alternative to bullets, bean bag projectiles can cause serious injury or even death.
Many people rushing to the scene showed up to support the tree-sitters, and two people from the crowd were arrested, one being dragged across the road and injured.
You can see photos of the tree-sitter extractions, including the officers with rifles trained on tree-sitters on the site of Save Little Lake Valley: http://www.savelittlelakevalley.org
Further details, more photos and first-hand accounts can be found in the media story links pasted below. For Bay Area people, you can listen to interviews with tree-sitters in the middle of the melee on KPFA’s Flashpoints show on April 2, and interviews with a tree-sitter, Caltrans, and Jeff Miller from the Center for Biological Diversity on KPFA’s Up Front morning show on April 3. Both can be found on the KPFA website archives.
The campaign against Caltrans’ Bypass plan continues despite the dramatic incidents of April 2. An Action Camp is being set up, elected officials are being lobbied and there is a petition to sign at https://www.change.org/petitions/cancel-the-caltrans-willits-bypass-project
You can also find information about protesting the violence used by authorities on the Save Little Lake Valley site.
(note: We apologize for the delay in getting this breaking news out, due to personal crises.)
Media stories from April 2:
KPFA Flashpoints w/tree sitters 4-2: http://archives.kpfa.org/data/20130402-Tue1700.mp3
AP story in Seattle Post Intelligencer 4-2: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/6-tree-sitters-arrested-in-highway-project-protest-4404262.php
Press Dem 4-2: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130402/ARTICLES/130409922/1033/news?Title=Willits-protester-forced-out-tree-cut-down
KIEM TV 4-2: http://kiem-tv.com/node/5152
KPFA Up Front, 4-3: http://archives.kpfa.org/data/20130403-Wed0700.mp3
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