CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A doughty stand against the contempt HS2 has shown us

28 January, 2021

HS2 Rebellion demonstrators say they are determined to stay in Euston Square Gardens

A DRAMATIC stand-off was taking place last night at the HS2 Rebellion camp in Euston Square Gardens.

Protesters from the group, many who have been living there since the late summer, are holed up in a makeshift underground structure, (HS2 protesters: We’ll stay in tunnel for weeks, January 28).

Enforcement officers have set up tents at the entrance of the tunnel looking to remove at least four people deep beneath the ground. They plan to stay there for six weeks but may well be dragged away in the dead of night.

Like the famous scene from The Shawshank Redemption movie, HS2 Rebellions have been chipping away at the tunnel unbeknown to the authorities.

How has it come to this? Residents of Camden will not be surprised.

HS2 has hung like a dark cloud over Camden for more than 10 years. There have been several attempts to stop it. All have failed.

The vast majority of attempts to mitigate the misery of construction, loss of housing, businesses and green spaces have fallen on deaf ears.

The Lunatic Express, backed by both main political parties, has carried on regardless of thousands of complaints and, often, with total disrespect for people’s day to day lives.

That contempt for Camden people is evident, once again, in the story of the opera singer who is suffering sleepless nights.

The camp – which the group say is legally squatted – is taking place so HS2 can’t cut down trees to make way for a cab rank.

Residents have fought against trees being cut down for the project, tying scarves around them, for years. The vicar of St Pancras Church chained herself to one London plane in 2018.

But the overall environmental damage from the railway was not really on the agenda until Extinction Rebellion came along. The group has carried out so many memorable protests that had such a deep impact throughout 2019.

There were several weeks in that year when the unstoppable chain of events leading to global disaster, predicted by the group, was the first item on the news.

Covid took the sting out of that campaign, as everyone retreated indoors and outdoor demonstrations were banned to stop groups spreading the virus.

But these hardy souls, deep beneath the ground on a cold winter’s night, are not about to give-up the fight.

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