The arrest, took place, close to Poor’s Piece, a community of conscientious Earth Protectors, living there to protect the woodland from the threat of the HS2 development. Poor’s Piece is so called, as the woodland was planted many generations ago to provide fire wood for the poorer members of the community. And therefore, has become a symbol of what campaigners’ fight against. The woodland is under threat by HS2, and is home to many species of wildlife, including red kites, yellow hammers, badgers, different species of bat and insects, to name but a few.
The morning started with the familiar, clackity clack of machinery, coming from the HS2 compound, just metres from their home. A sound that fills many campaigners and residents living alongside HS2 works with dread. The sound signals destruction, death and irreplaceable damage to our precious eco system.
This particular noise signifies for many, the movement of a machine campaigners call “the grabber”, a machine designed to rip and tear trees and hedgerows to shreds in minutes, like some mechanical insect with huge mandibles, it grabs and slashes, it’s teeth sharp and unforgiving. Stuff of nightmares, a dark beast from a long forgotten fairy tale.
On hearing the machinery, two residents of the Conservation Project ran to where it was headed. There they sat with the Oak, the tree marked for felling, two determined heart strong women. Time passed, each of them clinging to the hope that they can save the tree. HS2 workers closed in, ecologists trained by HS2, working for HS2 prepared to climb the tree to determine its fate. Then the police were called by HS2, to remove the women.
Then support arrived, a call sent out to other campaigners was answered, “how incredible it was to see more coming to sit with us, and sit we did, and we sang, we sang as the police read us our rights,
we sang as the police protected the ecologists as they climbed into the tree, prodding and poking her with sticks, into any hole where a bat or other creature might be living, shining torches into the same”. The results of the survey would determine the future of the tree, the tree the women we were determined to save. And so, the 7 Sisters Oak action was born.
They were called to action, called by the plight of a gentle Oak, an Oak that is home to many species, has provided shelter for countless creatures throughout its lifetime. An Oak, the campaigners believe is a roost for bats. Bats that are protected. Their demands to see the licence that allowed HS2 ecologists to carry out these surveys during maternity season were not met.
The women sang from their hearts while others stood by to protect them, the police arrived to take them away. 30 officers sent in for 7 women. 7 peaceful protestors singing under a single tree. Arrested, they were taken to cells, held for over 12 hours. Charged with aggravated trespass. All women, all united in one heartfelt gesture of activism. Protection. They sang in the cells. They sang through the night, and they sang when they were released. Still determined to protect our precious wildlife.
The 7 Sisters court hearing is on the 28th July, 10am Milton Keynes Magistrate Court, please come and support these brave campaigners, just a few of which are facing court for heartfelt actions to protect our environment from further development.
Oh, and the tree, she still stands.