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Activists arrested at Roe 8 road project

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016

Police arrested at least four people during rowdy protests at the site of a controversial Perth road project, including a man who chained himself to machinery.

Protesters and police clashed at the site of the Roe 8 highway extension, part of the WA Liberal-National government's $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link, amid anger machinery was arriving and work was starting at the site despite a pending High Court challenge.

Police also handed move-on notices to 19 people.

Five people were arrested for obstructing machinery last Wednesday and released with cautions as protests have continued for a week.

State Labor MP Simon McGurk and Greens MP Lynn MacLaren attended the protests.

Opponents say the highway will impact the environmentally-sensitive Beeliar Wetlands and will also have expected adverse impacts on communities along its route.

Conservation Council of WA executive director Piers Verstegen accused contractors of already breaching environmental and animal welfare regulations on the site by moving machinery into areas where fauna was nesting without government environmental officers present.

The area is a habitat for the rainbow bee eater bird and southern brown bandicoot.

"This is indicative of a project where the state government is rushing ahead of the High Court decision and an election to try to get work happening on site," Mr Verstegen told AAP.

"What we're seeing now is a massive outpouring of community opposition."

Both Ms MacLaren and the local council, the City of Cockburn, criticised the state government and called on it to stop preliminary works until the High Court challenge that resumes on Friday is resolved.

Mayor Logan Howlett said forcing the highway through just four months ahead of a state election was disrespectful to the legal process and to voters.

A man who was protesting collapsed in the crowd and was taken away in an ambulance after suffering a possible heart attack.

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