Socialist Worker

Bailiffs are ‘putting our lives at risk’ say HS2 tunnel occupiers

People occupying tunnels in Euston against the HS2 project are resisting eviction, reports Sophie Squire

Issue No. 2741

The scene of the occupation in Euston, central London

The scene of the occupation in Euston, central London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Anti-HS2 activists who are occupying tunnels in a Euston park, in central London say that their lives are being put at risk.

Protesters began their occupation at the end of the last month in a bid to stop the green space being turned into a taxi rank and then sold on to the developers of HS2.

One protester, Larch Maxey, said bailiffs began drilling around a protester at the top of the system of tunnels while continuing to dig downwards.

Protesters inside say that digging a side shaft is “very dangerous”.

One video recorded by protesters shows an activist confronting a ­bailiff digging toward them. They ask, “Since you started digging the ceilings are starting to go, so can you tell me why you’re engaging in dangerous practices?”

Blue Sandford is one of those occupying the tunnels. She said that bailiffs are “destroying the structural integrity of the tunnels” in their attempts to evict protesters.

Blue warned that the ­bailiffs’ actions could “cause major collapse”.

Two of the nine activists left the tunnels over the weekend. Lazer Sandford left after enduring 30 hours with his arm inside a concrete block that prevented bailiffs removing the other protesters.

In a video released last Friday Lazer is heard saying, “A bailiff has been sitting on me for at least an hour. I’m finding it incredibly uncomfortable as you can imagine.

“It would be nice if he could get off me.”

Arrested

After leaving the tunnel, Lazer was quickly arrested by cops.

On his departure he said, “Eleven days in a tunnel and 30 hours in a lock on were painful, but that’s nothing compared with the current and coming suffering caused by the climate and ecological emergency.

“The choice we face is whether to sacrifice other people’s lives for our own comfort.”

A 17 year old woman also left the tunnels saying that she felt unwell. She too was arrested as soon as she left.

Last week a high court judge threw out an application put forward by Larch Maxey for an injunction to stop protesters from being evicted on safety grounds.

And the chair of HS2, Allan Cook, resigned from his position last week.

Despite weak mobile signals in the depths of the tunnels, ­protesters have been able to communicate about what life is like underground.

One said that despite everything those inside the tunnels are still managing to “keep their spirits up”.

The occupiers are right to resist a project that will harm the environment.

A survey on the impact of the construction of the high speed ­railway found that it could lead to the destruction of 693 local wildlife sites and 33 sites of special ­scientific interest.

The activists inside the tunnels and out are making a brave stand against the deeply damaging project that is HS2


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