A group of about 50 protesters, some chained to trees, had to be removed by police to allow construction crews to begin preparation work for the Sydney light-rail project.
At least six people chained themselves to the mature trees lining Alison Road and Anzac Parade in Randwick before construction workers arrived about 8:00pm on Thursday.
Their protest was preventing crews from clearing the site and beginning work.
The group had come together in a last-ditch effort to save the trees, some more than 100 years old, from the new $2.1 billion light-rail project.
They claimed the State government backtracked on the initial route for the light rail, which was supposed to run on the south side of the road, in front of Randwick Racecourse.
Local Claire Steigrad said the New South Wales Government had been ignoring their pleas.
“People are really angry that this is happening. People have been saying for over a year that we don’t want these trees cut down and nobody is listening,” she said.
“To the people of Sydney I say, you are losing 50 heritage trees so the racecourse can keep a bus lane and 150 car spaces.”
Late last year, Sydney CBD coordinator general Marg Prendergast said in a statement the positioning of the light rail would “save up to 10 weeks of noisy night and weekend work”.
Transport NSW has stood firmly by their decision, assuring residents that for every tree felled, at least two new ones would be planted.