Missouri woman arrested after spending 8 days in a tree to protest nature trail

COLUMBIA, Mo. — After spending eight days in a tree to protest construction of a mid-Missouri nature trail, activist Sutu Forte has been arrested.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Columbia authorities on Tuesday removed Forte from the tree by using a fire truck’s hydraulic bucket. She was handcuffed and taken to jail, but released a short time later.

Forte says the police “handcuffed me very gently.”

One of her supporters held a court document Forte was given by police that indicated a charge of first-degree trespassing.

Police Chief Geoff Jones and a city spokesman declined comment.

The trail connector is scheduled to be a 10-foot-wide concrete trail that will provide a non-motorized path for residents, according to the city’s website. The construction is part of a larger projects slated to connect 30 miles of trail in Columbia.

Forte staged the protest since Oct. 28 over concerns that the trail extension would lead to forest destruction. The city identified 18 trees that would need to be removed, 14 of which were dead, according to their plan.

Supporters in the crowd sang “This Little Light of Mine” as Forte was brought down from the tree.

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