ANTI-logging protesters claim to have footage of a violent stand-off between loggers and environmental activists at the Toolangi State Forest near Healesville last week.
The alleged footage involves timber workers punching, kicking and pushing the protesters, who marched onto a restricted zone at 5.45am last Wednesday.
The footage is in the hands of anti-logging group MyEnvironment.
Spokeswoman Sarah Rees said the footage refutes claims by pro-logging group Friends of Forestry, who alleged in a media release last week that ‘‘five masked men stormed on to an official workplace threatening timber workers’ safety [and] stopping work’’.
She said the footage proved the allegations were ‘‘completely untrue and provocative’’ and showed the activists themselves being ‘‘brutally assaulted’’.
Friends of Forestry has alleged three drivers were on the harvesting coupe when the protesters shone torches and threatened them before being ushered from the site.
‘‘One driver was loading a truck and had a 500 kilogram-plus log high up in the air when the masked men invaded our workplace,’’ one of the drivers, Brendan Roberts said.
‘‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s illegal to wear a mask in public and to be honest it was really frightening as it was dark, there was five masked men, and we had no idea whether they had weapons or what they were going to do.’’
In a media release sent out last Wednesday afternoon, the Victorian Association of Forest Industries condemned the actions of the protesters.
‘‘I think everyone would agree that actions which are aggressive, threatening, and compromise people’s safety at work should not be tolerated,’’ VAFI chief executive Lisa Marty said.
Ms Rees said the allegations were ‘‘laughable’’.
‘‘It was four degrees, they had neck warmers on, not masks,’’ she said.
‘‘What I saw them [the loggers] do to the activists in the footage is just scary. [Friends of Forestry] are purporting misleading information.’’
Healesville police Sergeant Wayne Williams said they were working with the Lilydale police to investigate two incidents last Wednesday.
Sergeant Williams said police were called out to a logging coupe at about 6am where a confrontation took place between loggers and anti-logging activists. The second incident took place about lunch-time at the Myers Creek Road protesters camp between anti-logging and pro-logging groups.
‘‘We have two conflicting stories and that’s the basis of our investigations at the moment.’’