SAN FRANCISCO — Eighteen environmentalists have been arrested during two days of coordinated anti-logging protests at three sites in California, including a grove of ancient redwood trees targeted for cutting, authorities said Monday.
Thirteen protesters, apparently members of the environmental movement Earth First!, were arrested late Sunday and Monday on land owned by Pacific Lumber Co. near Carlotta, in southern Humboldt County. They were charged with trespassing after climbing into trees to block the harvest.
Another five Earth First! members were arrested Monday in Marin County, north of San Francisco, after gluing pots filled with small Douglas fir trees on the sidewalk in from of a Pacific Lumber Co. sales office near Sausalito.
There were no arrests in Los Angeles, as about eight Earth First! protesters gathered in front of the MCO Building on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood. MCO, an energy and natural resources conglomerate, is in the process of buying out New York-based Maxxam Group, which bought Pacific Lumber Co. last year.
Earth First! claims that Maxxam Corp., a division of MCO Holdings, is wiping out large parts of the little that remains of virgin "old-growth" redwood forests to help offset the $750-million debt incurred in its takeover of Pacific Lumber.
"We are protesting the cutting of the last roadless virgin forest," said Earth First! spokeswoman Ruthanne Cecil.
A Pacific Lumber spokesman denied that his company's plans will damage the environment. "We have been one of the leaders in the industry in prudent harvesting practices," he said.
In Humboldt County, the 13 suspects were booked on trespassing charges, a spokeswoman for the Humboldt County sheriff said.