Bailiffs advance on road protest

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Seventeen people were arrested yesterday as bailiffs continued to clear the largest protest camp blocking the route of the Newbury bypass.

Police said the arrests were for obstruction and aggravated trespass as protesters, some in tree-houses, offered resistance. Thames Valley police said: "The protesters have been putting up quite a struggle."

Police moved into the "Pixie Village" site in Snelsmore Common, Berkshire, the biggest of more than 20 camps on the route, early on Thursday. There were 13 arrests on Thursday and several people were trampled underfoot in clashes on the ground between demonstrators and police horses.

The police presence was maintained overnight to prevent other protesters from joining those still in the trees and yesterday an excavator cleared a path to the treehouses. Bailiffs then went up in cranes known as cherry pickers to bring down the tree dwellers. One bailiff was repeatedly showered with urine during efforts to clear lower branches from a tree. Police said: "A woman in the tree had a bucket of urine and kept putting a stick in it then shaking it at the bailiff as he tried to climb the tree. But he carried on regardless."

Pete Foulding, a tunnel expert, had confirmed that a maze of tunnels beneath the camp was clear, police said.

Police prison vans filled up as tension remained high during the day. At least one protester appeared to have been arrested for assault. Fellow demonstrators accused police of assaulting the protester.

t Eight of the 13 arrested on Thursday have been charged with obstruction and aggravated trespass and given bail. One was released, two released after caution, one bailed to return to a police station and one remained in custody.