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Subject: SchNEWS Friday 23rd May 2003, Issue 407
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 22:37:30 +0100

La Houppe protest camp set up (Belgium)

A protest camp has been set up in one of the most beautiful forests of Belgium to protect it from turning into an ecological nightmare. D'Hoppe (La Houppe) is a small village about 40 km south of Ghent on the border of Flanders and Wallonia. Its forests provide a habitat for various rare and endangered species of animals and it borders on the Brakelbos nature reserve, which is highly protected for its natural and biological value. Unfortunately for the eco-system of this area the vast majority is owned by Marcel Fort, a local dodgy businessman, who isn't averse to using violence and intimidation to get his own way. He is an extremely powerful figure in the local community who operates outside and above the law and has been terrorizing the village for years, making a stack of cash by turning what were once the highest hills in the area into a landfill site and a sand quarry.

When Fort wanted to cut down 30% of the trees that were left to increase the size of the quarry the locals decided enough was enough. They demanded the landfill site be closed, that quarrying be stopped, that the illegally built road to the site be removed and that every forest in D'Hoppe becomes officially protected and made publicly owned. On 27th April the camp was set up with tree houses going up and people arriving daily.

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road protests 2003   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links