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Anti-road protest in SouthEast England - need help to defend the trees

Thursday 20 December 2012

Taken from> SchNEWS is a brighton-based independent activist news network. All solidarity with the opposants to this tree murder, and lets hope the road can be stopped! They are calling out for people who know about building in the trees to come and help.

SchNEWS - Battle of Bexhill update

Jo Makepeace | 17.12.2012 17:15 Update! - Four days of direct action against Bexhill link road

.Anti-road protestors in Bexhill were ambushed by an early start to the tree-felling on the controversial Bexhill-Hastings link road this week, but they rallied and over foursuccessive days of direct action have put a spanner in the works.

Update - Monday 17th

Resistance continued along the route today with four arrests being made as bailiffs dragged local protesters out of the trees.

Combe Haven Defenders had this to say.

“We urgently need people to help defend the trees along the route of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. Things are very fluid, so please call us on 07926 423 033 to find out what’s happening. Stay calm and peaceful.

For more info – or if you see any signs of contractor activity along the route of the Road today – contact 07926 423 033.

The chainsaw gangs have reportedly already cleared 3 of the 20 sections between Bexhill and Crowhurst. So, if anyone knows of a team of climbing-savvy activists with the skills to come down and build a tree house, now’s the time to mobilise them!

If you’re not already on the Defender’s email / text list, please sign up here so that you can receive further updates and info.”

Original Story

Anti-road protestors in Bexhill were ambushed by an early start to the tree-felling on the controversial Bexhill-Hastings link road this week, but they rallied and over three successive days of direct action have put a spanner in the works.

Work wasn’t expected to begin until early January but as soon as East Sussex County Council acquired the land (by compulsory purchase) the chainsaw gangs were set to work.

On Thursday evening information was received that tree felling in Combe Valley was to begin on the route of the Bexhill-Hasting link road early Friday morning. As contractors with machinery moved into woodland near Adams Farm, south of Crowhurst early on Friday morning they were greeted by tree bound activists and locals who had been occupying the area since dawn. Contractors and security soon realized there would be no felling, with a early lunch called shortly after activists got in the way of brush cutters attempting to clear access to trees.

Saturday saw a large number of trees felled in a the disused railway cutting in the suburbs of Bexhill before activists (reinforced by a landy full of stray hunt sabs) climbed over the bridge and forced contractors to stop cutting. The protesters refused to leave after warnings from High Court bailiffs and followed the contractors to their next target – a stand of trees to the east, which was already being occupied by a couple of enterprising locals who’d shinned up one tree with a ladder. Flummoxed, the chainsaw boys put their toys back in the van and called it a day.

With trees already falling, people once again gathered on Sunday in Bexhill and in Crowhurst at Adams Farm. Work was stopped in Bexhill with people once again entering the site. But large area of trees were able to be felled before contractors packed up and left for their compound. Contractors attempted to continue their reign of destruction, showing up at Adams Farm once again. This time activists were in waiting with one person quickly locking on under a pick-up truck with two pairs of hand cuffs, blocking the site’s only access point and causing the other vehicles to reverse in fear of the same fate.

Tonight (Sunday) forty people turned up to a public meeting in the hamlet of Crowhurst about the plan for the bypass. One potential ray of light was the announcement of a new legal challenge by BLINKRR (Bexhill Link Road Resistance) – who claim that the new road is on the actual site of the Battle of Hastings and are aiming to get the whole area re-classified as a World Heritage Site.

At the moment there’s no permanent protest site and activists are relying on a series of rolling blockades. The good news is that although the tree-felling has started at the moment the council don’t have the money and still have to jump through a few environmental regulation hoops – so the road could still be stopped.

SchNEWS spoke to Combe Haven Defenders “We’ve been heartened by the reaction of local people – who’ve come out to resist the chainsaw gangs. We see this as not just a local issue but a national strategic one. We want people to come down and action”

To get up-to-date information of what is happening on the ground and where you might be needed visit the Combe Haven Defenders website

To get regular e-mail/text updates

Brighton supporters have called an emergency public meeting at 6p.m on Tuesday 18th December at the Cowley Club 12 London Rd, Brighton BN1 4JA.

Jo Makepeace
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