Anger drives fig supporters future effort

ACTIVISTS who campaigned against the felling of Laman Street’s fig trees vowed to maintain their rage, after a noisy farewell march on Newcastle’s city administration building yesterday.

Save Our Figs spokeswoman Fee Mozeley said the group would continue to campaign once the final fig was removed.

Herald photographers took many photographs during the felling of the Laman Street figs. This time-lapse video, shot from the foot of Civic Park, charts the fall. - Video by Dean Osland

‘‘What we’ve been campaigning for is transparency from the council,’’ Ms Mozeley said.

Ms Mozeley said yesterday’s shout of shame, which brought a chorus of drums, sirens and whistles to the civic precinct, was ‘‘a positive way’’ for supporters to channel their anger and disappointment over the felling.

For more pictures from the shout of shame, click on the image below.

A fourth councillor who supported the removal of the trees, Graham Boyd, has reported a death threat to police.

Cr Boyd said a man phoned his home on Tuesday night and said he ‘‘was going to come over and murder me’’.

Cr Boyd said he believed ‘‘fringe supporters’’ of the figs were behind the threat and that public opinion on the issue had turned.

‘‘In the past three days, the number of phone calls and emails of support for the decision has far outweighed the number of concerned tree advocates,’’ Cr Boyd said.

Acting police local area commander Trevor Shiels reiterated that such threats were ‘‘unacceptable to the community and to the police’’.

‘‘Any threat that’s levelled at councillors is criminal,’’ Inspector Shiels said.

Nine of the 14 trees had been removed yesterday and a tenth was almost down.

The council removed a ‘‘non-significant’’ lemon-scented gum tree from Laman Street yesterday.

‘‘It was necessary today to also remove a non-significant lemon-scented gum, which was growing up through one of the figs,’’ the council said in a statement.

‘‘With the figs removed, the gum was more exposed to wind events, increasing the risk of failure.’’

The art gallery will be open at the weekend and tree removal resumes on Monday.

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