WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! It's yer faraging about...
The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action
It took three days and a huge security operation to evict the last of the three camps on the route of the Bexhill bypass this week. The eviction had been delayed by over a week because of the snow. Campers used the extra time to build more defences including a tunnel, barricades and more nets in the trees. Everything pointed toward the eviction starting on Monday so Sunday saw hordes of people arrive from all round the country. This included the Chief Executives of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Wildlife Trust and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. Around 40 people stayed (none of the Chief Executives alas) overnight to greet the Shergroup bailiffs in the morning.
The bailiffs did indeed arrive on Monday and spent the whole day at ground level. They set up fencing, cleared protestors from the site and then had to cut five people out of lock-ons, as well as investigate and fill in the flooded tunnel.
The weather got really wet and windy overnight. Some of the people in the trees had no shelter. The weather didn't improve in the morning so some people were pretty glad the climbing bailiffs started evicting nets, walkways and the concrete lock-ons in treehouses. Quite few people agreed to be taken down, which meant they weren't arrested even though it took just as long for the climbers. At the end of the day, there were still two treehouses and 5 protestors left for another night. Supporters tried to deliver food, water and blankets but the bailiffs were employing siege tactics and refused to allow any assistance in at all. Protesters had to suffer the cold conditions with limited supplies. Some supplies managed to get through eventually but more because of the general overweightness and age of the security guards rather than their goodwill and kindness.
On Wednesday, the climbers had another lock-on to deal with before they could get to someone hanging from a rope between the tops of two trees and some others climbing high in the trees. At about 1pm the last protestor was evicted and then the chainsaws moved in immediately to fell all the trees, including 200 year old oaks.
One of the tree dwellers told Schnews: 'This eviction, along with all the other resistance, has really shown what strong opposition there is to this road, and increased the cost of buliding it. The passion and determination of so many people made this a long and expensive eviction of a very small area. It's gutting to see this woodland destroyed but the campaign has plenty more energy and ideas yet.'
Another protestor said 'More roads mean more road protests!'
This battle may have been lost but the war has only just begun...
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