Activists arrested in forest clearing protest
10 August 2006, BRUSSELS — Preparations for the controversial felling of trees at Fort III in Borsbeek started at about 8am on Wednesday, but three green Groen! politicians were arrested for trying to hinder the work.
10 August 2006
BRUSSELS — Preparations for the controversial felling of trees at Fort III in Borsbeek started at about 8am on Wednesday, but three green Groen! politicians were arrested for trying to hinder the work.
The trees are to be cleared to maintain the safety of the Deurne Airport at Antwerp, but a group of about 20 protestors have been staging a sit-in protest at the forest for more than a week.
The protestors are fighting against the disappearance "of the biotope of endangered bats for an economically non-profitable airport".
The contractor designated the area on Wednesday morning where only workers will be allowed to enter and police urged the protestors to leave. The protestors refused to move.
Some 25 activists were then forcibly removed from the trees. One of them had chained himself to a tree so that workers needed a chainsaw to free him.
Groen! politicians Freya Piryns, Frans Neyens and Johan Malcorps were arrested for standing in front of the vehicles of forest clearing workers.
The arrested activists were to be questioned at the Mortsel police station. A pregnant activist who spontaneously developed a blood nose was taken away for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Flemish government has not yet issued an urban development permit to the contractor.
This means that the complete clearance of the forest at the Fort is still not possible.
The contractor is reportedly only in possession of an environmental permit, which allows only the clearing of specially marked trees.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news