Former Greens leader Bob Brown has been released on bail after being arrested during a community protest over logging in northwest Tasmania.
Dr Brown was arrested on Monday at the site of a Forestry Tasmania logging project in Lapoinya and taken to Burnie police station.
Bob Brown arrested at logging protest
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Bob Brown arrested at logging protest
Former Greens leaders Bob Brown is arrested during a community protest over logging in Lapoinya forest in northwest Tasmania.
"I didn't go with the intention of being arrested, but when I saw the destruction, I had to take a stand," he said after his release.
He has been charged with failing to comply with a direction to leave a business access area, and has been banned from going back to the Lapoinya logging area under the terms of his bail conditions.
Dr Brown, 71, said the area, including a bridle trial, was used by nature lovers before loggers moved in.
"It's now a bulldozed highway, a logging road with tree ferns, trees and shrubbery flattened, and bare earth, he said.
"And they're getting ready to log the forest next door."
The former senator is urging federal environment minister Greg Hunt to protect Lapoinya's rare and endangered wildlife.
Dr Brown was arrested just before midday after police arrived at the protest and asked him to leave. He refused.
"I made that stand as I felt a real obligation not to turn my back on the place and leave," he said.
Tasmania Police said a 71-year-old Cygnet man had been charged after he failed to comply with a direction and "leave the business access area under section 8 (1) of the Workplaces [Protection from Protestors] Act 2014".
Civil rights groups say the controversial laws, which include $280 on-the-spot fines and jail terms for repeat offenders have, in effect, made anti-logging protesting illegal in the island state.
Dr Brown is due to appear before Burnie Magistrates Court on March 15.
"Bob went up to support the community protest," Steven Chaffer from the Bob Brown Foundation said.
The protest in Lapoinya began last week as Forestry Tasmania prepared to start logging the area's regrowth forest.
Mr Chaffer says Dr Brown's arrest reflects the new "draconian" laws.
Stewart Hoyt from the Friends of Lapoinya Action Group said that Dr Brown and three others had been walking into the Lapoinya Forest exclusion zone.
Dr Brown and one other man were arrested, Mr Hoyt said, while two others were escorted out by Tasmania Police and issued with a fine.
Dr Brown's Facebook page said the former Greens leader had been visiting Lapoinya to support the campaign against the "needless destruction" of the forest.
"The local community of Lapoinya have been trying to protect their local forest, home to the world's largest freshwater crayfish, from destruction by clear fell logging," it said.
Last week, three anti-logging protesters at the Lapoinya site received a $280 fine for failing to follow the direction of police.
Another man, from nearby Wynyard, was arrested for contravening police direction and refusing to leave the forest.
Police say the man said he would not leave on his own terms.
Police removed the man and took him to Burnie police station,where he was charged and bailed to appear at a later date.
The Tasmanian freshwater crayfish, which can weigh more than 5kg and grow to more than 80cm long is the largest known freshwater invertebrate in the world. The Lapoinya forest is one of its few remaining homes.
Tasmanian Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor praised Dr Brown for standing with the community to protect Lapoinya.
"I have no doubt today that Bob Brown being arrested has reflected the concerns of many Tasmanians about the logging of Lapoinya," Ms O'Connor said.
"It is unfortunate that people who care about [our] place in Tasmania are being arrested under these draconian workplace laws," she said.
Ms O'Connor described the logging of Lapoinya as "completely unnecessary" and an act of "bloody mindedness" on the part of Resources Minister Paul Harriss.
Mr Harriss accused Dr Brown of a policy flip-flop.
"Bob Brown is a hypocrite," he said.
Mr Harriss says the former senator "didn't raise even a squeak" about Lapoinya when he signed off on the area's logging project while he was leader of the Greens.
The state government supports freedom of speech but "no protester is entitled to interfere with the right of other Tasmanians to earn a living", Mr Harriss said.
AAP, Burnie Advocate