Special branch officer goes to ground
A POLICE officer posing as a greenie has climbed a Cairns mango tree as part of an operation to remove protesters trying to save the tree from the chop.
The tree was sliced into pieces yesterday, a week after ex-Greens candidate Geoff Holland intercepted machinery and climbed the tree’s branches. It was one of four trees to go as part of a redevelopment at Munro Martin Park.
Police confirmed they had their “own man up there” in the tree for the operation, which removed about eight people yesterday morning.
The supporters had set up a pulley system and manned the tree in shifts from a hammock.
Mr Holland, who said he tried to hold on to a fence as police removed protesters, was arrested and charged with obstructing police.
“I feel devastated,” he said after being released on bail.
“Many people have grown up with these mango trees and they’re iconic to Cairns and they mean something.”
Cairns Regional Council acting chief executive John Andrejic said a review of the redevelopment found the tree had to go. He denied Mr Holland’s claims that the community was not consulted.
Mr Holland will return to the Cairns Magistrates Court on September 23.