SHEPTON MALLET EVICTED

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Shepton Mallet 2nd eviction

15.03.2006
report 1:
Shepton Mallet anti-Tesco's protest site has just been evicted after a six hour tree top struggle.

Around fifty bailiffs backed by forty police arrived at 6am at the site. Unlike the last eviction this time protesters were determined to make a stand. Fifteen activists locked on in the trees and a net as bailiff climbers attempted to evict them.

When all the activists on the lower levels had been taken down a 'cherry picker' access platform was brought in. Ground support quickly formed a road blockade which obstructed work for over an hour. Eventually this was cleared with six arrests. However by midday even those activists who had reached the top of the Scots Pines had been evicted and the tree felling commenced.

Legal question marks hang over the eviction as no possession order was ever served.

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report 2:
Baliffs, entered the site of a new tesco, at around 0600 wednesday morning, but unlike the previous eviction the baliffs and police met serious resistance.

The eviction was prolonged by people locked-on in tree houses and on the ground, several people in a net strung around 30-40ft off he ground, and others on 'walkways' (that is three ropes strung between trees, one for your feet two for balance) much higher up. Hwever, by midday, the eviction was over and by 4.00pm most of the trees had gone. You don't have to be a hippy to be gutted by how quick it is to destroy trees that were around when locals from shepton mallet were still smashing up spinning jennys.

The struggle that Tesco's have had to go through to get possession of the site, is in stark contrast to the ease at which they there environmentally and socially destructive planning proposals are rubber stamped at council committees

Of course, to get all the people down they needed climbing-scum baliffs to get us down. Verbal intimidation as well as brute force was used to get at least two of the people down from the net.

Back on the ground, when the cherry picker was brought out to get the highest of the protesters down, about 20 people,some who had alreday been evicted by the climbers, sat down and formed a line in front of it. After a brief stand/sit-off - the machine went back into the yard. It was then unsurprisingly brought out of the other entrance, but before protesters could get to it, a police line had already formed, and it was impossible to get to the machine in a group, this when five of the six arrests happened. Many locals were visibly upset by the felling of the trees, many school children were heard verbally abusing the contractors.

Overall,there were six arrests, of these four were for breach of the peace, and were later released without charge. However, there were two arrests for assaults, one for throwing a twig at a baliff, and the other for allegedlly assaulting a police officer.

The person accused of the latter offence, was a local who had been involved in the campaign from the start, but had recentlu been extermley ill. In fact he had to walk with a stick. Witnesses said they saw him originally being peaceably escorted off the site by one policeman, and then another barged into him, a scuffle ensued and this poor man, who had never even been arrested before, was not only handcuffed, but had leg manacles on. He was then was stamped on by another one of Avon & Somerset's finest in the police van. He was later reported, to still being held at Yeovil Station, with among other injuries, a dislocated shoulder. People who have been assaulted by the police, often end up with police assault charges against them, to try and intimidate them from making a complaint.

Witnesses to his initial arrest are needed.

I don't wish to come over all reasonable, but the majority of the police there did not behave in this way, ok, they shouldn't have been assisting in corporate sponsored environmental destruction, but they were not, except, for the two policemen involved in the above assault, particularly brutal.
It's just a shame that the rest of the officers, if experience is anything to go by will lie for their guily colleague.

Overall, for many of the people involved it was there first protest, it was generally a good experience. Who knows,t may also become notable when a direct action campaign against tesco got going