Activists from the Shepton Mallet anti-Tescos protest site obstructed the felling of an ancient beech tree today, Saturday 4th March. Over 20 police were called in to secure the area.
Stopped in its tracks: Digger occupied
Bus stop bust-up: Olly clips on
Workers keep felling while Olly is clipped on
Fighting on: Shepton Mallet protest site
However, as soon as the digger approached the site, activists occupied the road, halting it and swiftly locked on. Pro-celebrity direct activist Olly Carter managed to clip on to an overhanging branch, in an attempt to halt the chainsaw gang at the tree’s base. Shockingly, they carried on cutting even while he was suspended from the now dangerously unstable tree.
Once the digger was occupied and Olly was clipped on, the situation settled into a standoff that prevented work for the rest of the day. The stalemate ended as the digger was forced to retreat when activists refused to back down under threat of arrest.
Ultimately, however, Olly was forced to concede the tree had become too dangerous to defend and came down, allowing the workers to complete its destruction.
Local people, regardless of their opinion of the Tescos development, seemed disgusted with the cavalier and dangerous manner in which the work was carried out.
Although activists were evicted from the original site on Monday 27th February, they have fought back by reoccupying a strip of tall Scots Pines scheduled for destruction. The new site runs parallel to the perimeter fence, next to the war memorial at the top of the High Street in Shepton Mallet.
As we write, the site is now busy with about 20 people building defences and preparing for possible eviction in the next few days. People and equipment are needed urgently.
NOTE: There is a new site mobile number: 07756 970472