LETTERS: Road protesters no `threat to national security'

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The Independent Online
From Mr Jim Thomas Sir: I am rather concerned to learn from your crime correspondent, Jason Bennetto, that I am now a "threat to national security". His article, "Crackdown on green terrorists", 29 December) revealed that Special Branch is to "target" members of the public such as myself who care enough about the environment to stand up and be heard. When I have responsibly chosen to stand in the way of a bulldozer or kept guard over a tree, I was under the impression that I was doing this to protect anarea of the countryside or a neighbourhood. John Howley, head of Special Branch, obviously believes that I and thousands of others like myself have more sinister motives. We do not.

I am a young person who along with many of my generation is watching the environment, its resources and its wildlife being destroyed by those who go before us. I hope to be around on this beautiful planet when they have gone and dream of passing on the best world I can to my children and beyond. Part of ensuring that dream is doing all I can to limit present environmental destruction. I have always been brought up to find and follow a moral code and am continually aware of this in any green activism.

As your leading article of the same day ("The green baby and the bathwater") was correct to assert, actions that threaten lives (such as planting bombs) should be dealt with. Violence in all forms is to be deplored. John Howley, however, seems to have singled out the M11 protests and those at Twyford Down - both examples are notable for their absolute commitment to non violence, taking inspiration from earlier struggles of the suffragettes, Ghandi, Chipko Movement and CND, to name but a few.

Concern for the state of the environment and the animals that live in it is, thankfully, growing. If the Government continues to meet this concern with further moves to alienate and anger those who care, then resentment will grow even further and dangerously.

Yours faithfully Jim Thomas Toy's Hill, Kent