Arrest of environmentalists at Ta Ann's Tasmanian operations sparks call for Greens leader to be fired after drawing comparisons with Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi

LOS ANGELES , November 16, 2012 () – Opposition party members in the Tasmanian government are calling for Greens leader Nick McKim to be fired after he criticized the crackdown on protestors who halted operations at two Ta Ann Tasmania Pty. Ltd. plants in recent days, reported The Mercury on Nov. 16.

Premier Lara Giddings should “sack” McKim for his support of forest activists that threaten the well-being of businesses, said Liberal leader Will Hodgman.

While people have the right to protest, Labor does not support the demonstrators that put a stop to operations at Ta Ann, said Deputy Premier Bryan Green, The Mercury reported.

Five protestors who locked themselves to a conveyor belt at Ta Ann’s veneer mill in Huon, Tasmania, were arrested Nov. 14, while three others who locked themselves to a gate at the company’s veneer mill in Smithton, Tasmania, on Nov. 12 were arrested.

On Nov. 13, Ta Ann Executive Director Evan Rolley commented that the company might close down its operations in Tasmania unless there is a resolution on the forest peace talks, and expected that the decision would come within two weeks.

His comments, which were reported by Industry Intelligence Inc., came a day after a tree that was set on fire in front of Ta Ann’s office in Hobart, Tasmania, spread the eaves of the building.

McKim compared the protestors to civil rights activists Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi, after Giddings called for a crackdown on the activists and labeled their demonstrations as “appalling,” reported The Mercury.

The Greens leader said he wanted his support for the protestors to be a matter of public record in Parliament, further stating that the civil right leaders of the past have been arrested for activities that led to social freedoms.

Barry Chipman, state spokesperson for Tasmanian Communities Australia, said that it was wrong of McKim to compare the protestors to freedom fighters as the Tasmanian protestors had taken away “workers’ freedoms to work a day’s work,” The Mercury reported.

The primary source of this article is The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on Nov. 16, 2012.

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