On Thursday and Friday, April 19 to 20th one of the longest, 36 hour eviction took place of Protect Pont Valley Camp which has been blocking the new Banks Group open cast mine. This mine has been blocked and rejected over 3 times over last 30 years by community resistance.
Being approved now as UK is claiming to be phasing out of Coal.
Coalition of Climate-Justice and anti-Coal activists many from Hambacher Forest has been occupying the proposed construction site for entrance and access road to the mine for month and a half. During this time protected Great Crested Newts were found on the site, giving the struggle their symbol, mascot and even more militant platform: Newt Liberation Front. During that time through skill-sharing of both Continent and UK-based direct-action activists numerous creative defenses were constructed that extended this occupation for over 2 days. Those included “Sleeping Dragon” lock-on which connects two people through a V shaped lock-on that is placed in the ground in such a way that the defenders are sitting on top of it with it underneath and in between their legs making the drilling and hammering of the lock-on particularly difficult. The court appointed bailiffs who showed up on the scene were particularly unexperienced in removing lock-ons and expected this to be a half day eviction to be over by lunch time. An additional defense that greeted those eviction professionals was a wheelchair hanging next to the tree-house that was suspended from a rope attached to the entrance gate functioning as a sky-pod. The biggest surprise to both the court appointed muscle and police on the scene were the two tunnels with activists inside. Heavy machinery was repeatedly driven to their tunnel entrances endangering the people inside and reminding that coal mining industry has never been known for a great safety record. At the entrance behind the protected by the person hanging in the wheel-chair gate was also a tripod which was the first structure evicted Thursday with scaffolding company brought over to construct a stairs leading to the person on top. Behind both the Sleeping Dragon and the Tripod was a “Wheelie Bin” Wheeled Trash Can with quite a bit of metal and concrete mixed in comprising a second lock-on with 2 more people locked on. The last defense was convenient in that despite its very heavy weight it could be moved to the required position. At the side entrance to this Banks Group “Coal Exit” mine was also parked a Caravan with lock on in between two beds allowing for comfortable locking-on.
The eviction itself as it unfolded seem to address more crowd control to prevent outside supporters from arriving when it was just several local supporters and legal observers who were kept back over 100 meters and prevented from taking photos. Using section 35 which often used against congregating teenagers and minorities who are dispersed and sometimes even fined for engaging in an unlawful gathering.
After a whole day of this police action only 3 people were arrested with most activists still at their defenses, they were surrounded by fence, stripped of their shoes, blankets, sleeping bags and food and surrounded by security for the night, part of this security detail was who seemed like a 14yr old, possibly violating children employment laws. During this night 4 activists who had been harassed by bright lights shone on them by the security, 2 of whom were facing a collapsing tunnel, escaped with 2 running into the fields and 2 joining others in the tree-house. The next day over 7 people were arrested with most released the very same day after being given draconian bail conditions, that are being contested by their defense, to stay away not just from the vicinity of Banks Group site but from the whole County Durham which has now become a protest exclusion zone for those activists while Banks Group is making statements that they do not oppose peoples right to protest and are designating an official site for protest camp located outside of the construction area for the access road and outside of the site of the future mine.
All involved are continuing the struggle to Preserve the Beautiful Pont Valley, Stop the latest toxic and climate killing coal mine and appeals are making for additional activists to arrive at the scene to help with reoccupying the site, there is housing provided by numerous generous supporters as well as camping in the beautiful Pond Valley that continues to be defended through diversity of tactics.
For the Earth and for the Pont Valley!!!
Hambacher Forst in solidarity with anti-extractionist struggles world-wide.
Confiscated by Düren Cops held for over a year.
There have been 3 police raids on the Meadow Camp in Hambacher Forest over last several years. During those raids the police would enter the location of our support “eco village” camp located on private property with search warrants listing as reasons either searches for weapons or even explosives. The resulting confiscations however focused exclusively on electronic devices, that is the “Weapons of Mass Communication”. Commandeering tools and outlets for press work, documentation, photography of police behavior and brutality and legal documentation. This has been done days before even larger police actions. In effect silencing us electronically and leaving us not able to communicate to the outside world about what was taking place with limited documentation of police antics and no way to present conflicting evidence to the State’s so often trumped up accusations used to imprison our comrades for months without trial. With three of our comrades, Hambi3(#freehambi3), presently in prison. more…
Stormy Clouds Sunset over Pont Valley Protection Camp
Lots of warm solidarity and support from Pont Valley Protection Camp to all defending Hambacher Forest and full spectrum of their supporters following evictions of barricades this time by the police and imprisonment of now 2 additional Climate Justice Political Prisoners together with UP2(kept for past 2 month in isolation with “evidence” being kept from the defense) making now the #freeHambi3. The disaster martial law capitalism steps up its bullshit this time instead of after communists and labour activists going for environmental, climate and direct action activists first as Rheine Energy CEO/Police Chief, Herbert Reul and his fossil fools disaster capilast New Frei Corps of North Rhine Westphalia Interior ministry police sweeps up the opposition. As climate disaster deepens, ecosystems collapse accelerates, nuclear proliferation and militarization is an accepted by the masses fucked up reality while militant resistance is delegitimized, criminalized and appropriated for media green-scare campaigns. Firecrackers and pocket knives become dangerous weapons as politically cynical capitalist conspiracy of repression continues its campaign of divide and conquer by pushing community and civil initiatives to be further and further apart from radical part of the movement. Through fear and reformists empty promises of change forcing some to engage in follow ups of repressions with external retraumatizing critiques. more…
There is very high possibility of attempts to evict the The Pont Valley Protection Camp this week which like other Fracking Site protests, blockades and autonomous land occupations in England is facing the use of the Common Law Eviction, also known as “Owners Right to Self-Help” allowing the corporations involved and the property owners leasing to them to employ Bailiffs and private security to evict activists without court proceedings or much of a warning. This is done by showing up at the site issuing a warning and then after couple hours proceeding to remove the occupiers. In this type of eviction the Police does not get involved and does not assist and no arrests are made as long as bailiffs are not physically fought. That is why legal observers and videographers are important on the scene. Also neither bailiffs nor security is trained or insured for lock-on, tripod,or tree removal. They also count on low numbers of resistors as if there is more people it is possible to resist their removal from the Site.
So please spread the word if you can not show up and support the Pont Valley struggle in person. If you can, pack your backpack and head over to the camp located outside of Dipton, near Newcastle.
Tomorrow at 7:00 pm Hambach Forest and #FreeHambi4 Solidarity event will be held at Freedom Books, London. It will include a presentation, documentary screening, an exhibit of photos and prisoner solidarity art with prisoner letter writing and a vegan dinner. Please help us spread info to people in the region as obviously this is a last moment event. Short update from Pont Valley protection camp will also be given.
Freedom Books is located right outside Aldgate, before White Chapel, tube station. Located in a passage on the side of White Chapel Art Gallery.
RWE and Vatenfall continue to receive their Colombian Blood-Coal Imports from 2 companies operating their mines in Cesar region bordering Venezuela. Both of these companies: Drummond and Prodeco have been using right-wing paramilitaries as their private security force which has committed over 3,000 killings, over 59,000 forced removals and the disappearance of at least 240 people all in the region affected by coal mining. Nine different independent sources have confirmed that Drummond AUC made substantial financial contributions to the main right wing group in the region, Juan Andrés Alvares front. The payment methods ranged from direct cash payments to covert transfers via service providers and transfers of f set percentage yields of the mine operators. Drummond also ordered it official private security company AUC to remove “suspicious persons” from its premises. Telephone orders to do so resulted in the killing of these persons. more…
Although we have a lot to do as usual (there are many barricades to be built) – of course enough time remains to send solidarity greetings to our comrades in Greece!
If you want to know something about the fight against the destruction of the environment in the Greek Halkidiki, here is an insight:
https://griechenlandsoli.com/2018/01/09/der-goldene-tod/ (in German)
Long live the Antinational Solidarity!
Call to Action for grass-roots idependent assesment of biodiversity of Hambacher Forest.
RWE’s decission not to cut the Millenarian Hambacher Forest resulted in preventing the case from going to arbitration and having the forest be considered to be an area of exceptional biodiversity and protection under Natura2000 which would prevent it legally from being cut at all. The present outcome only “saves” the forest for next 9 month giving time for “political” solution which in the presently changing to the right political climate(largely as the only oportunistic response to social and ecological degradation) could signify large scale repressive actions before the next cutting season to remove the forest occupations and the Meadow Camp which for over the last 5 years have been resisting the ecological and climate destruction taking place in Hambi making the resumption of cutting next year easier for RWE.
The last remaining portion of Hamacher Forest remains in the meantime and for still limited and uncertain time one of the last continously surviving for the last 12000 years forests in europe harboring a truly unique biodiversity. The next 9 months could be the last chance to document the disapearing uniqueness of insect,plant and animal life inhabiting the forest. No scientific or professional certification but only interest, energy and action is necessary. To take part all you need to do is select and study a book listing the species you are interested in from lichens and mushrooms to birds, etc in gather the necessary tools such as binoculars or magnifying lenses and log your finds in a notebook including location, time, specie involved and include photos with in case of plant and insects with a phone or gps receiver shown in the photo displaying the coordinates of the find. All the collected material especially endangered organisms on the red list are very important parts of the struggle to preserve and defend the forest through direct-action(in this case getting closer and getting to know and documenting what we are defending) and through legal-wrenching methods deployed by the BUND-NRW.
This sunday we will look at the ornithological biodiversity of the forest so bring a pair of binoculars. Please soncintact Hambi email hambacherforst at riseup.net with the subject Hambi Naturalists if you are interested and also spread the word of the projects to amateur and semi-profesional groups with focus on biodiversity as well as biology departments at universities. If you try unis in the region prepare to be disapointed as many have been coopted by RWE into silence and inaction on the subject through RWE doations and “green-washing” project ultimately reminding and mobilizing those among us who know that corporate and government conservation equals acceptance of bulldozers and chainsaws as instruments of “bio-preservation”
We do not need to be saved from ourselves by future waves of repression the same way last natural outposts of exceptional biodiversity like Hambacher Forest do no need saving for 9 months so chainsaws can start as soon as some “political”/corporate solution/loophole is found. The decision for action and to experience and learn, share and documet this biodiversity could be the last and it is once again up to all of us.
hambacherforst at riseup.net
Today is the last day on which BUND and NRWE can adopt a position on the settlement proposal (yes or no). Meanwhile they did so. According to Andreas Pinkwart (FDP), the NRW Minister of Economic Affairs, this winter there will be no more deforestation in the rest of the once large Bürgewald.
Sure, we’re happy. We rejoice for the bats and dormice, for the middle-spotted woodpeckers to whom they owe their homes, for the pedunculate oaks, the hornbeam, the lily-of-the-valley and all living beings in and around the forest. Also with the humans who – with their persistence in the forest, in the courtrooms, in citizens’ initiatives, in guided nature tours, in the procurement of building materials and food, in lectures throughout Europe, writing, filming, translating, collecting signatures and so many other things – made possible the current interim result.
The e-mail below was sent to us:
I wrote down a bit to counter the confusion / uncertainties / rumors about the B.U.N.D. NRW lawsuits, the clear-cutting stop and the turn of the year. I hope this is helpful for you and will give you a better starting position to get active in preserving the forest! At the bottom you’ll find a newspaper article from today’s AN. more…