ECO-WARRIORS have moaned they’re being “tortured” by loud diggers as the 100ft tunnel protest enters its 54th HOUR.
The protesters trying to stop HS2 are living in underground tunnels underneath Euston Square, London – and have vowed to stay for a “very long time.”
The eco-warriors living underground have said they’re being ‘tortured’ by loud diggersCredit: AP:Associated Press
A protester is seen being taken from the scene yesterday
Police officers work to clear an HS2 protest camp outside Euston station in LondonCredit: AP:Associated Press
However, they have been moaning about the “torture of sleep deprivation” as bailiffs worked throughout the night to dig them out.
One protester said that a truce made with the National Eviction Team to not work between 5 and 7am was broken by the sound of heavy digging machinery.
Larch Maxey, 48, who has been living in the park since August, was filmed saying: “The hardest thing now is the noise, they are constantly working making loads of noise with loud machinery.
“We’ve had no sleep, that’s been really hard.
“They promised they would give us a couple of hours without working at the end of the night shift between 5 and 7am.
“But as soon as we gave them what they wanted they backtracked.
“We’ve had no time without the constant noise.
“It’s a form of torture to have no sleep, sleep deprivation is a well-known form of torture. It’s not comfortable, it’s not pleasant.
“We put a lot of effort being safe down here but if we are sleep deprived it might it’s completely unjustified.
“Please put pressure on HS2 to give us some sleep.”
But yesterday, Maxey made it clear that the protesters have no immediate plans to leave, adding: “We will last as long as we can down here, but we can’t put a date on that.
“Our resolve is clear because we are telling the truth about the climate. We will not be coming out any time soon.”
Veteran activist Swampy – real name Daniel Hooper – who is in the tunnel, warned that it will take bailiffs a “very long time” to get them out.
He said in a video from the 100ft tunnel: “We’re in the tunnel to Euston, stopping the HS2.
A campaigner pictured in the tunnel network
Flimsy wooden posts are seen propping up tonnes of earth in the subterranean lair, right in the heart of central London
The tunnel is being used to avoid eviction
“The tunnels going on a very long way. There’s an excellent crew of people that are going to be down here for the eviction.
“I think it will take them a very long time. And it could be the tipping point.”
Dramatic scenes unfolded yesterday morning as activists were dragged from their central London camp by bailiffs, with one heard yelling as he was led away.
Officers said that the activists’ inexperience was exposing them to “significant risk” in the tunnel and that it was aware of a previous collapse and “water ingress”.
Yesterday evening at least four protesters were preparing to bed in for the night.
Protesters scurried into their tunnel and up trees to avoid being evicted – but five people, four men and one woman, were arrested by Met Police as cops monitored potential breaches of the peace and Covid legislation.
Activists claim their tunnel – nicknamed Calvin, near busy Euston Road – took two months to dig and is their “best defence” to thwart eviction from their camp.
It has since been claimed there is a second tunnel named Crystal that connects to the network.
Al, 18 of Hendon, told The Sun that the tunnel dropped down 10 feet before extending 100 ft in length.
He said: “We’re using direct action and making sacrifices because this is the most effective means of change. We shouldn’t be spending billions and billions of pounds on a project which is only there to serve the interests of the wealthy.”
Eco-warriors say the group have “stocks of food” plus bedding and even toilet facilities in the underground tunnel that they have been working on in secret.
Protesters previously admitted the tunnel suffered a “big collapse” after heavy rain while under construction, raising fears the shaft could fall in on itself while activists are inside it.
Lawyers for the eco-protesters last week insisted the site was being “legally squatted” and that evictions were illegal under Covid regulations until February 21.
But a HS2 spokesperson said the current ban on evictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic is not applicable, adding: “The protests are a danger to the safety of the protesters, our staff and the general public.”
The group claims HS2 is the “most expensive, wasteful and destructive project in UK history”.
They say the project will “destroy or irreparably damage 108 ancient woodlands and 693 wildlife sites”.
And they claim HS2’s plan to build an aquifer in Colne Valley, West London, risks contaminating almost a quarter of the capital’s water supply.
But HS2 bosses insist seven million trees will be planted during phase one of the project and most ancient woodland will “remain intact”.
A spokesman for HS2 said the tunnel protests were “costly to the taxpayer”.
An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “To ensure HS2 is able to deliver its major benefits to the UK on time, certain works must take place at designated times. HS2 has taken legal temporary possession of Euston Square Gardens East in order to progress with works necessary for the construction of the new Euston station.
“These protests are a danger to the safety of the protesters, our staff and the general public, and put unnecessary strain on the emergency services during a pandemic. The protesters are currently trespassing on land that is legally possessed by HS2.”
A brightly dressed man waves his fist as he is lead away
Laughing protesters in the tunnel under the station
A protester tussling with an enforcement agent
Daniel Hooper, better know as Swampy, in Euston SquareCredit: Alamy Live News
Another activist is led away by the eviction team
The campsite is being dismantled
One protester is seen clinging to a tree
A protester raises their fist while sitting on a crane