5 Days in the life of ANIMAL

MONDAY: Day Four in the tunnels. The health and safety officers, shoring around us, say they won't take an active role in the eviction; their job is to make the tunnels safe for the bailiffs. However, once they've removed our door they leap at us and wrestle off our lock-on clips. John is led away but I've got a spare clip. I tie it around my wrist with the cord from my cardigan hood and lock on, clipping it around a bar at the bottom of a length of drain pipe sunk into concrete. It takes five hours to chip me out. At 2am I emerge, stand up for the first time in over 100 hours and am arrested for obstructing the sheriff.

Once released from Exeter police station I head for the campaign office. It's packed with sleeping bodies and is under police surveillance. Someone tells me that back at Fairmile a candlelight vigil for the tunnellers is being disrupted by threats of arrest. Also the Sun, the News of the World and the Mirror want to buy my story!

TUESDAY: Lovelee calls a press conference. Jenny and Sarah help me finish my press statement. I speak about the Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) scheme. The proposed Honiton to Exeter route is the first to be financed this way. Private consortia buy the contract to build. The government repays them after 30 years at a rate per vehicle (shadow tolling). The consortia (in this case Connect, which includes Balfour Beatty, involved in the Pergau dam, and other multinationals with dubious environmental records) therefore have a vested interest in extending the road corridor, resulting in increased congestion, pollution and road accidents.

I repeat the demands that we issued from the tunnel: all documentation to be made public and work suspended pending a public inquiry with reference to DBFOs (the last inquiry was held before the funding was changed to this system); possible infringements of the 1765 Enclosures Act, concerning hedgerows, to be investigated; the breaching of the 1992 Badger Protection Act to be publicly admitted by the Highways Agency, the Connect Consortium and Trevor Coleman (the Under Sheriff of Devon in charge of evictions). Back at the office, I do a phone interview with the Big Issue. My parents ring. They've got the press camped on the doorstep.

There's a big vigil in London and activists have occupied a crane by Big Ben with a banner reading "Privatising Vandalism. No A30. We Love You Fairmile." Clive, landlord of the Masons, opens up specially and there's free drinks all round. I have to leave early when I start tripping from sleep deprivation.

WEDNESDAY: Everyone arrested is bailed but must stay 1km from the proposed route. This condition is an erosion of freedom of movement and was unheard of before similar conditions were imposed at Newbury. Jenny, Sarah, Emma, Inverness John, Norman, Rory, Sandy and Tamilyn have determined to make it unworkable. Last night, in protest, they went to Fairmile and informed the police they were breaking bail. Sandy and Tamilyn are rebailed with even stricter conditions: daily signing at the police station and a 10pm- 8am curfew. The others are remanded. Jenny, Sarah, Emma and John are on hunger strike.

Hardly any of the papers mention DBFOs. The road system is being privatised, the implications are terrible! Why is no one interested?

There's a cave-in at the tunnel, in the chamber where I'd been. I explain the cause to the others. The HSOs, who had been worried about my blood circulation, hadn't shored up and cut some of our shoring, to speed things up.

Communications between the tunnel and protesters above ground were severed last Saturday. Coleman said he will allow us contact only to talk them out. He would supervise the conversation and we would be limited to approved topics.

THURSDAY: Dave, Swampy and Ian are out. I haven't seen them because I left to do a chat-show. On TV they look well after a week underground. The tunnels are evicted, the trees cut down, but the campaign continues. Jenny, Sarah, Emma and John are still on hunger strike. By the time you read this they'll have been without food for four days. But the spirit of protest remains strong. The direct action movement is growing and evolving. So long as the need remains, there will always be people ready to stand up against vandalisation of the earth for profit.

FRIDAY: My 17th birthday. Time to relax.

Animal is an environmental activist

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

    £21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent