HS2 underground protest: Activists in 'very dangerous' situation

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Media caption,

Protesters filmed themselves inside the tunnels

Activists staging an underground protest in central London are in a "very dangerous" situation and must stop tunnelling, a judge has said.

Members of HS2 Rebellion have spent six nights beneath Euston Square Gardens.

On Monday, the activists applied for an injunction requiring eviction teams to stop trying to remove them but this was refused by a High Court judge.

The court also said protesters should tell authorities the "layout, size and engineering" of the tunnels.

The activists dug the tunnels to thwart their eviction from a camp, which was set up in September in a protest against the £106bn HS2 scheme.

HS2 Ltd has said it had "legal possession" of the land and urged protesters to leave "for their own safety" before they are removed by High Court enforcement officers.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
A number of activists have been arrested since the eviction began

One activist, Larch Maxey, applied for an injunction requiring HS2 and eviction teams to cease operations.

However, High Court judge Mr Justice Robin Knowles refused the application and said Dr Maxey should "cease any further tunnelling activity and is not to cause any other person to engage in tunnelling".

The judge said the situation Dr Maxey and the activists were in was "very dangerous" and he should inform the authorities about the number of people in the tunnels and its layout.

Image caption,
Seasoned activist Daniel Hooper - better known as Swampy - is one of those in the tunnels

HS2 Rebellion claim there are nine activists in the tunnel.

They include Dr Maxey, 18-year-old Blue Sandford, veteran environmental campaigner Daniel Hooper - better known as Swampy - and his son Rory.

Speaking from a tunnel on Monday, Dr Maxey said conditions were "good" and "warm", although they were "a bit moist".

He said the eviction was "unlawful" and "being carried out in an unlawful way".

On Tuesday, four Extinction Rebellion activists climbed onto HS2 Ltd offices on nearby Eversholt Street in support of those in the tunnels.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
A perimeter fence has been erected around the camp by security personnel

In a statement, HS2 Ltd said: "The safety of people trespassing and the safety of HS2 staff and agents in this operation is of paramount importance.

"We are doing all we can to end this illegal action quickly and safely."

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