Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg. 62.
After six months of peaceful protest, Greenmania, one of the last bastions of action against the M11 extension, was finally evicted in early September.
The site, a small village of tree houses connected by cargo nets and ropeways, on the Green Man roundabout in Wanstead, had been occupied since March.
Mid-morning on September 5th, the first platforms were erected to remove protesters from the lower branches. Twenty minutes after the first tree was felled, to allow the cherry pickers access to the site, the press and onlookers were herded behind a row of police vans, effectively preventing any close inspection of the action on the ground.
Sophie, who was locked onto the ground, suddenly found herself surrounded by police and bailiffs: “I was shaking because I suddenly realised that I was on my own. They weren’t prepared to dig or drill or cut me out. It seemed they just wanted to do it as quickly and violently as possible”. The bailiffs stood and watched as two police women wearing surgical gloves yanked Sophie’s head backwards. Her arm was dragged out of the lock on and she was carried, shaken and sobbing, to the space behind the police cordon.
Ian’s release, which required a mechanical digger, was witnessed by representatives from The Daily Telegraph and ITN but the rest of the press were, inexplicably, refused admission to the main site. SQUALL’s photographer was finally allowed in but was told he would only be permitted five minutes. Ian admitted to being pleased with the result: “I didn’t have a karabiner, I only had a strap. But the lock on was massive and mostly steel. It took them forty minutes to dig me out.”
As the chain saws arrived to demolish the trees holding up the nets and ropeways, Lawrence, whose family have lived in the area for over 100 years and who has been involved in protest against the road since the beginning, addressed the crowd through his megaphone: “Please be careful. There used to be a hospital across the way but its been knocked down to make way for the road.”
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