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CLIMATE activists defended three HS2 construction protest sites in west London today against simultaneous eviction efforts.
HS2 Rebellion said that a private security firm, the National Eviction Team, was attempting to remove activists from sites in the Colne Valley, including the dozens of locked-on protesters who have been occupying a former motor mechanic’s workshop since February 21.
Activists have converted the garage into a home, complete with bedrooms, a kitchen and a composting toilet, and have built barricades and other defences to temporarily hold out against evictions.
Campaigners are also occupying trees in the woodland and field camps. Some have been on site for the last three years in protest against the building of the high-speed rail service.
HS2 Rebellion claims that the garage eviction is of “highly questionable legality.”
Lawyers for Nature barrister Paul Powlesland said that the bailiffs were using common-law powers that do not apply in this case and could not be used to negate squatters protections under section six of the Criminal Law Act.
He said that the organisation would be discussing the possibility of gaining an injunction to overturn “what looks like an illegal eviction.”
The workshop’s owner, 74-year-old Ron Ryall, said: “I’ve lived and worked here my entire life.
“The way we’ve been treated by these smirking thugs and their lackeys has been nothing short of disgusting.
“They’re so rich, they think they can get away with anything, that they can just tread on the common man as they like.
“Well we’re saying no. We don’t live in the past, we have rights and you can’t treat ordinary folk like this and expect to get away with it.”
An HS2 spokesperson said that the land is legally possessed by HS2, and that High Court enforcement officers, equipped with safety precautions against coronavirus, were lawfully removing trespassers.
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