Extinction Rebellion hold protest in London over HS2
Police officers arrived at the site of the protest, at Euston Square Gardens in central London, this morning to disperse the protestors. Some members of the group, called HS2 rebellion, moved to their man-made tunnels or climbed up trees. The activists are protesting against HS2 and aim to stop the trees from being cut down.
Pictures from the site show activists clinging on to trees in their make-shift tree houses, with one man seen ziplining between them.
Officers were seen putting on harnesses as they tried to clear demonstrators from the square.
Some were even seen scaling cherrypickers to talk to the activists.
HS2 bailiffs later arrived and started to cut ropes holding the makeshift camp together.
Five people, four men and one woman, were arrested by Met Police.
HS2 have dug a secret network of 100ft (30m) tunnels near Euston Station
Bailiffs work to remove activists from their protest camp against the HS2 hi-speed rail line
Several activists are still believed to be underground within the 100ft tunnels, with police suspecting at least four people were holed up in the secret hideout.
Campaigners have said the tunnel, which they have named Kelvin, is their “best defence” at avoiding eviction from the site.
They have since claimed there is a second tunnel named Crystal that connects to the network.
The activists state they have food, bedding and even toilet facilities within the underground tunnel network.
The protest group said its “tree protectors” were prepared to occupy the tunnels, that were dug “in secret” over the last few months, and stay underground “for as long as it takes to stop HS2”.
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A man was seen ziplining between the trees
Tunnellers have worked “around the clock” using pickaxes, shovels and buckets to create the network.
They said they encountered a number of problems in recent weeks, as heavy rain caused several walls to collapse.
The protestors first set up a Tree Protection Camp in Euston Square Gardens in September, to protest against the new high-speed network.
Those participating are members of HS2 Rebellion, an alliance of groups and individuals campaigning against the planned high-speed railway.
They claim Euston Square Gardens will be turned into a temporary taxi rank before being sold off to developers.
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Officers were seen putting on harnesses as they tried to clear demonstrators from the square
Pictures from the site show activists clinging on to trees in their make-shift tree houses
One 18-year-old activist told the BBC: “It is all very dangerous and life-threatening, but it is all worth it.
“This is the only way I can effect change, I would sacrifice everything for the climate ecological emergency to not be happening.
“We want to be as safe as possible. It is not about us martyring ourselves, it is about delaying and stopping HS2.”
HS2 Rebellion claims the planned HS2 line, due to link up London, the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland, will see 108 ancient woodlands “destroyed” and “countless people being forced from their homes and businesses”.
Police were even seen scaling cherrypickers to talk to the activists
They have called on the Government to scrap the £106billion scheme.
HS2 limited said only 43 ancient woodlands would be affected by the railway’s route between London and Crewe, with 80 percent of their total area remaining intact.
A HS2 spokeswoman said: “Illegal action such as this is costly to the taxpayer and a danger to the safety of the activists, HS2 staff, high court enforcement officers and the general public, as well as putting unnecessary strain on the emergency services during the pandemic.
“Safety is our first priority when taking possession of land and removing illegal encampments.”