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Home | Friday 5th September 2008 | Issue 645

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FRANKFURTIVE ACTION

No wonder Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, is so keen to expand – it doesn’t want to lose it’s number one status to second place Frankfurt International - which has begun its own epic expansion programme.

Fraport, who run the airport, are busy with plans to add a whole new runway, a third passenger terminal (not to mention doubling the retail space at the other two terminals), a new maintenance hangar and upgrade to high-speed rail facilities.

Before even beginning to calculate emissions damage from use of the new runway, the balance sheet will be in serious loss as the plans require the small matter of chopping down 100,000 trees, clearing a town-sized 300 hectare area of the nearby Kelsterbach Forest.

But, putting Climate Camp actions here in the shade, activists established an occupation camp in the woods at the end of May and have been there ever since - despite an aide of local Mayor Ockel visiting the site and announcing that the occupation would be tolerated no later than June 1st.

While there has been airport infiltrations and banner drops, this week the camp stepped up a gear and metamorphosed into an action camp. Over a thousand people assembled and headed for Frankfurt on Saturday, holding a human rights orientated rally and a demo outside the Italian embassy against police brutality in the G8 in Genoa.

Others attempted a raid on the terminals but were excluded by a show of force from the cops and a strict ticket inspection regime.

The camp are busy planning new tactics to pull off more successful actions during the remainder of the week, with the focus being on Saturday.

If you fancy going Deustch for a visit to the camp see www.earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/node/21343 for directions and details

* Pics of treetop living, and lots of german text at www.waldbesetzung.blogsport.de

** History corner: This isn’t the first time Fraport have faced off against tree camp protesters – in the early 1980s thousands of people occupied the Flörsheim Forest to block the building of the Startbahn West runway. A tree city sprang up and lasted over two years before it could finally be cleared. Huge protests of up to 10,000 clashed with police, who hit back using WWII vintage backpack liquid-firing ‘Converted Flamethrower 40’ weapons, rubber bullets and the usual 'arresting' demo control techniques. The woods finally bit the dust in 1984 and Fraport could start ramping up the aviation use to the point where it is today. But there's no point in pining over it...


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