Repeated tree removal in Melbourne has lead to vehement protest from a previously unknown activist group known as ‘Disciples of the Tree’, who have expressed outrage at the removal of local greenery.
Much of the work of felling trees is to prevent the danger of collapse branches. Pleas from local council to end the protests have fallen on deaf ears. Attempts to explain the cities motives for tree felling have nonetheless been met with opposition. Tree trimming across Melbourne suburbs
Is currently on account of the protests.
Arborists have reported spontaneous protests right across the inner suburbs, including the CBD.
Leigh Cross, who claims to be the spiritual leader of the sect, has stated in an interview that his group formed online and only recently decided to get active.
“As you can see, there are more of us than you’d think,” said Cross last week at a large protest outside town hall. “We realised after a few months that our group was growing more and more each day. We care about nature and we know that it takes physical effort to stop it from being destroyed,”
Cross also went on to describe the newly founded group.
“Disciples of the Trees is a peaceful group,” he says. “We’re here to serve the trees. We’ve been given stewardship of them and it’s our job to preserve their precious life.”
The Disciples of the Tree have an estimated number of adherents in the hundreds, though exact numbers are still unknown. Planning supervisor city council member Jeremy Wiles has released a statement asking the group to cease their activities.
“You are hindering effort to keep this city safe from falling branches,” said Mr Wiles in a live speech yesterday night. “These trees are a danger to the people around them, and need to be removed. We have already allocated taxpayer funds to pay for the arborists, Melbourne residents are more important than a couple of trees.”
Protests have, thus far, been largely peaceful, though there have a been a number of arrests due to physical harassment of removal workers.