Protesters 'lock-on'at chipmill

Two anti-chip mill protestors locked on to machinery at the South East Fibre Exports (SEFE) chip mill on Monday morning after breaking into the mill site.

SEFE general manager Peter Mitchell said: “They broke into the place in the wee hours of Monday morning and then eventually two of them locked on to our conveyors and then we stopped production.

“We lost half a day’s production as a result,” Mr Mitchell said.

“The police were called and they asked the trespassers to move on. They (the protestors) decided not to.

“So the local police had to call in the rescue squad to unlock them from the machinery,” he said.

The disruption to the mill was the second in as many weeks with a large group of protestors blockading the chip mill road last week.

It is understood that blockade was cleared very quickly.

Greens Cr Keith Hughes was one of the protestors at the SEFE chip mill entrance on Monday.

Inspector Jason Edmunds from Bega Police said: “Police attended (the mill) and went up the conveyor belt and saw two people attached to the conveyor belt by a device. Police asked them to release themselves and they refused to.”

Charges were laid against the two protestors who had locked on.

“A 22-year-old female from Prospect in SA and a 33 year-old male from Berwick in Victoria were both charged with entering closed lands (trespass), and hide tools/clothes/property to unlawfully influence a person.

“They were given conditional bail to appear at Eden local court on January 8, 2014,” Inspector Edmunds said.

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