Swampy evicted from tunnel protest site

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The Independent Online
The environmental campaigner Swampy was back at the scene of his tunnelling triumph yesterday when he and other demonstrators were evicted from a protest site at Fairmile in Devon for the second time.

Four months after he burrowed his way to national media headlines, television shows and his own newspaper column, Swampy - real name Daniel Hooper - was ejected from the re-occupied camp after helping to dig a new tunnel.

The action, at the scene of a planned pounds 65m dual carriageway between Exeter and Honiton, Devon, is the start of a developing strategy by eco-warriors to revisit areas from which they have previously been removed.

One source told The Independent: "This could be a whole new ball game for the authorities to deal with. They will have to guard sites closely even after people have been evicted."

And Swampy, 23, who left the new tunnel with a female protester called Lee, said "Even though they evict us one time, we will be back and back again. Direct action is the only way to get things changed."

He had agreed to leave the tunnel because they were short of air and unable to breathe, he said. After a joint security operation by police and security staff, 10 people were removed from the camp, with two women arrested. Later road contractors' staff finished surrounding it with an 8ft metal fence and razor wire.

Some protesters claimed they had been working on the new 15ft tunnel for up to a week unnoticed and had been inside for more than 13 hours. In January, Swampy was the last of about 40 protesters to be removed, after spending a week underground.

Meanwhile, upbeat protesters at the site of the proposed second runway for Manchester Airport, who welcomed the Fairmile re-occupation, were digging in for the final onslaught last night as officials began the last stages of their eviction.

This morning Randal Hibbert, the Under-Sheriff of Cheshire, will decide whether to dig out four demonstrators still down the 60ft Cake Hole tunnel, which one of the protesters described as "unevictable", or let let them come up voluntarily. The four people, Muppet Dave, Denise, Matt and Neville, are thought to have enough food and water for two weeks.

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