This weekend saw the largest direct action to ever take place along the HS2 route with hundreds of people attending over a weekend which was initially called to stop tree felling on the Harvil Road in Harefield, and along the adjacent Chiltern Line.
Back in April 2019 in the first joint action by Save Colne Valley, Stop HS2 and Extinction Rebellion, trees along Harvil Road were saved by having people in them when HS2 came to cut them down. Crucially, we knew exactly when HS2 were coming to cut the trees down because HS2 Ltd had to apply to close the road to do it.
This time, HS2 Ltd had applied to close Harvil Road from the evening of Friday 17th January to the morning of Monday 20th, and the adjacent Chiltern Line where HS2 intend to conduct what they like to call ‘vegetation clearance’ would be closed for the weekend too. HS2 had made it exceptionally clear that they were serious, as the week before they started evicting the camp which has been on Harvil Road for the last two years. However, that hadn’t gone as well as HS2 Ltd had expected as while they managed to clear people from the top camp (the field by the road) more or less straight away, the woodland camp proved rather more difficult, with protestors taking to the trees.
The response from HS2 Ltd had been to try and starve protestors out of the woodland camp, letting them out, but not letting them back in. The problem with that tactic was that they were so spellbindingly incompetent at achieving that objective, that even Sky News managed to sneak past the fences.
Here is the video from Freeman when he finally came down from his tree after three days to seek treatment for hyperthermia
The thing was that after almost a fortnight of HS2 Ltd trying to evict the field and the woodland camps in Harefield, they had failed miserably as they never got everyone out of the woodland camp, with supplies and people constantly manging to sneak in. This was rather a problem for HS2 Ltd as not only were people who intended to stop them taking down trees in and around the trees, we were pretty certain that along with the trees along Harvil Road and the Chiltern Line, they wanted to take the ones in the woodland camp on the banks of the HOAC lake too.
So as a result of both having failed to evict the protectors and maybe realising just how many people were due to turn up over the weekend to stop the clearance of the road and railway, the day before the work was due to start, HS2 cancelled the road closure. So the planned event was so successful that it achieved its objective before it even happened!
Of course there was no chance that the event was ever going to be cancelled. Not just because we don’t trust HS2 Ltd, not just because the railway would still be closed and there was a chance work would take place there, but because many felt there was a siege ongoing which could be relieved and a field that had been subject to an illegal eviction that should be retaken. So that’s what happened.
And within minutes, Freeman was up his tree
A bit of what I’m told is called discobedience
And by Sunday…