Roo cull protesters arrested


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Protesters put up signs and lit a fire at the entrance to the site where the roos are being culled.

Protesters put up signs and lit a fire at the entrance to the site where the roos are being culled.

Eight protesters have been arrested at the site of a kangaroo cull on Defence land in northern Canberra.

The cull of around 400 kangaroos at the Belconnen Naval Transmission Site started on Monday.

This morning protesters jumped the fence at the main entrance and burnt a fire several metres inside.

The protesters included members of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Campaigner Isabelle Coe was among those who claimed the land as Aboriginal.

"This is Aboriginal land, always was, always will be," she said.

Around a dozen police arrived and arrested the protesters one by one while others jeered from outside the fence.

They were loaded into police vans and taken from the site.

Protester Joanna Pagan said it was time to draw a line in the sand.

"This is where we start to do the right thing, this where we start to care for our country," she said.

The four men and four women have been charged with trespassing on Commonwealth land and have been released on watch-house bail on the condition they do not return to the protest site.

They are expected to appear in court early next month.

Pat O'Brien from the Wildlife Protection Association says the group will also seek an injunction to stop the cull.

"The whole intention of this is to legalise the Aboriginal people's right to claim that land," he said.

"We've got footage of kangaroos with broken legs in there and we've joeys running around looking for their mothers before they get killed.

"It's just an absolutely terrible thing that's happened here and we're gonna make sure that the Government never ever forgets it."

The cull was ordered because the kangaroos were overgrazing the site and threatening endangered flora and fauna.

Fences cut

Defence Department spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic says overnight two fences at the Belconnen site were cut and six kangaroos involved in a research trial were released.

He says their actions put the animals at risk.

"That was dangerous, given that those particular animals were partly sedated and given the proximity of the dam they could very easily have drowned," he said.

"One of those darted animals has escaped back into the general population and will have to be re-darted and this significantly increases the chance of that kangaroo dying because it will have had two anaesthetics in a short space of time."

Mr Nikolic urged protesters to behave in a responsible manner.

"We're certainly trying to act responsibly in accordance with our legislative obligations to manage the site and our contractor is conducting the cull in the most humane manner possible and that's under the guidance of animal management experts including the RSPCA," he said.

"We ask people to respect that and for people wishing to protest to do so in a responsible way."

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