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by Bethany Rielly
BAILIFFS began evicting environmental activists from a fortified anti-HS2 camp in a central London park today.
HS2 Rebellion, a coalition of environmental groups aimed at stopping the high-speed rail project, claims that Euston Square Gardens will be built over as a taxi rank to support construction of the proposed HS2 station.
At least seven protesters were said to be occupying a tunnel network today when bailiffs from the National Eviction Team moved in to dismantle the camp in the early hours of the morning.
Protesters have been camping out in the small park outside Euston station since August 2020 to resist the construction of HS2, which began in London last September.
The group prepared to resist the “illegal” eviction by secretly digging a 100-foot network of tunnels under the park, codenamed Calvin.
Protesters said that they worked “around the clock” for months to dig the tunnel, using pickaxes, buckets and shifts of two to 12 people, hiding its entrance with a “fortified stronghold” of pallets.
The tunnels are supported by wooden joists to prevent collapse and stocked with cans of food and vegetables to allow for a “lengthy siege,” protesters said.
HS2 Rebellion is calling for the government to scrap the multibillion-pound rail project, due to link up London, the Midlands, the north of England and Scotland, which it claims will see 108 ancient woodlands “destroyed.”
Activist Blue Sandford, 18, who was in the tunnels, said that the government was “irresponsibly putting my life at risk from the climate and ecological emergency,” and felt that they had no “option but to protest in this way to help save our own lives and the lives of all the people round the world.”
Protesters said that lawyers for the Euston Square Gardens protection camp have sent a letter to HS2 “advising them of the illegality of any such eviction attempt at this time.”
Activist Larch Maxey said that he feared that protesters could be “seriously injured” during the eviction. In video footage showing Mr Maxey standing in the tunnel, he claimed enforcement agents were using an “angle grinder just a few metres away from my head,” and that he could “really smell the fumes of it.”
The spokeswoman for HS2 Ltd said that “safety is the first priority” when removing “illegal encampments.”
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