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Tree sit-in protesters arrested in Fla.

PALM BEACH, Fla., March 22 (UPI) -- Two members of an environmental group involved in a tree sit-in protest in Florida against a proposed biotech lab have been arrested, authorities said.

Courtney Claar, 23, of Lake Worth, and Brandon Block, 25, of Jupiter, both members of the Everglades Earth First group, were charged with trespass Monday and released from jail on their own recognizance, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported.

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Everglades Earth First has been protesting plans by Palm Beach and the Scripps Florida Research Institute to build a biotech laboratory on land in the Briger Forest area.

Claar said her group had been warned the space where they were staging their sit-in was a no-trespassing area, but said Monday was the first time police had been in the forest.

"The fact is that Scripps, as well as Palm Beach Gardens, doesn't want local residents to know about the forest," she said.

Claar and Block said they were told some trees were cut down after their arrests and said the group would stage ongoing protests.

"The Briger Forest is a really special place," Block said. "It's the last forest of its kind in the eastern corridor of Palm Beach County that's unprotected.

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"Just having been on the land and seeing it, seeing the animals, seeing the forest, you just know that it's something that can't be destroyed."

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