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From: "Jo Makepeace"
Subject: SchNEWS 536, Friday 17th March, 2006
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 03:40:29 -0000

anti-Tesco protest camp eviction report - Somerset


The Shepton Mallet anti-Tesco protest camp (see SchNEWS 533) was evicted on Wednesday after a six hour tree-top battle (no, not a scene from Crouching Crusty, Hidden Bailiff). Around fifty bailiffs backed by forty police arrived at the site at 6am. Unlike the last eviction, this time protesters were determined to make a stand. Given that the site was only taken two weeks ago, an impressive amount of defensive work had been done. Fifteen activists locked on in the trees, up a scaffold tower and in a suspended net.

Tesco employed bailiffs from wannabe 'protestor' specialists Sherforce, together with climbers from Highline Access. In a bizarre twist, one of the bailiffs - the shaven headed and toothbrush-moustache sporting Mark Lynch (also head of security at EDO MBM, see SchNEWS 508) - had tipped activists off as to exactly when the eviction was going to take place. Was this just an attempt to stoke up the conflict in order to showcase his company's talents and drum up business around the country? Question marks also hang over the eviction, as no possession order was ever served. On the day the order was granted Tescos didn't actually legally own the land!

Climbers eventually managed to manhandle all the tree-sitters on the lower levels down using hydraulic cutting equipment. However four managed to climb to the very top of the Scots Pines being defended. A cherry-picker access platform manned by bailiffs was brought in. Thirty people acting in a ground-support role quickly formed a road blockade which obstructed work for over an hour. Eventually this was cleared with six arrests.

However by midday the struggle was over. The trees were felled in the afternoon, despite Tesco denying to the BBC that they'd be destroyed. Every little hurts.

For more on Tesco see

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