Protesters say eviction teams are trying to force them out of an underground environmentalist demonstration.
Members of HS2 Rebellion constructed tunnels under Euston Square Gardens in central London, claiming the small green space near the station will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers.
The group now says eviction teams are digging above their heads, and protesters were kept awake all night to ‘coax us out of the hole’, the BBC reports.
Demonstrators have not said how many are underground, but they are confident they can keep the protest going for a few more days.
It is believed that five people, including veteran eco-warrior Dan ‘Swampy’ Hooper, are still below ground.
The HS2 Rebellion camp at Euston Square in London, 31 January. Protesters say eviction teams are trying to force them out of an underground environmentalist demonstration
An HS2 Rebellion protester raises his fist after he is removed from a tree at the encampment in Euston Square Gardens in central London, January 31
Police arrest an HS2 Rebellion protester at Euston Square in London, 31 January
Met Police arrest an environmental protester after bailiffs removed him from a ‘Stop HS2’ camp at Euston Station
A police officer adjusts a protective mask on a protester as he is detained, as other demonstrators occupy tunnels under Euston Square Gardens to protest against the HS2 high-speed railway in London
One demonstrator said: ‘All night we’ve had rocks falling down onto our head through the gaps.
‘They’ve kept us awake all night for hours and hours and hours to keep us awake and try and coax us out of the hole.
‘All of the dirt is still coming down in my sleeves. It’s not the most pleasant of experiences, it’s pretty nasty to be fair.’
Some of the protesters outside the tunnels have been arrested.
The eviction team has taken off the roof from the structure protecting the front of the tunnel.
HS2 Ltd had called on the campaigners to leave the tunnels as rain was forecast to fall throughout the weekend.
Pictured: Teams at Euston Station’s HS2 protester site. HS2 Ltd had called on the campaigners to leave the tunnels as rain was forecast to fall throughout the weekend
Pictured: The encampment at Euston Station on Sunday. A rescue expert had warned that heavy rain and sleet could cause tunnels beneath Euston in London to collapse
Cherry pickers arrived yesterday to dismantle ramshackle tree houses built by the activists. HS2 (High Speed 2) is a plan to construct a new high-speed rail linking London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester
Heavy rain and sleet could cause tunnels beneath Euston in London to collapse and endanger HS2 activists living in the underground passages, a rescue expert has warned. Trespassers on the site include veteran eco-warrior Swampy (above, on Friday)
The encampment in Euston Square Gardens in central London, where HS2 Rebellion protesters had built a 100ft tunnel network, pictured January 27
Bailiffs and enforcement officers were in Euston taking away parts of the protest camp on Friday
On Saturday, cherry pickers were at the Euston site as evictions continued, this time focusing on the scaffolding structure erected by campaigners.
On Friday, the protesters said ‘liquid mud’ was pouring into the tunnel system.
In a video issued by HS2 Rebellion on Friday, veteran environmental campaigner Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, said: ‘There was liquid mud coming through the wall last night, the rain stopped and we informed them (bailiffs) of this problem.
‘They said they were going to pump the water out, the rain has now stopped and loads more liquid mud is coming down now.’
A rescue expert had warned that heavy rain and sleet could cause tunnels beneath Euston in London to collapse and endanger HS2 activists living in the underground passages.
Cherry pickers arrived earlier this week to dismantle ramshackle tree houses built by the activists.
Exclusive video for MailOnline also shows Swampy complaining that a bailiff is stepping on his arm in the grim tunnel.
The veteran activist, 48, came out of retirement during the pandemic to oppose the £98billion rail link.
He has been underground with Dr Larch Maxey, 48, Scott ‘Scotty’ Breen, 47, and Lazer and Blue Sandford, 20 and 18, for several days.
In the video, he looks gaunt, lies uncomfortably on his back, and says: ‘You need to move out of here. You’re doing this to deprive us of sleep and you know it.
The protesters are members of a group calling itself ‘HS2 Rebellion,’ echoing the left-wing ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protests which brought London to a standstill last year (pictured: Cherry pickers dismantle a tree house in Euston Square, January 30)
Police begin evicting the so-called ‘Tree Protector Camp’ in order to press ahead with the development of the area which is part of the £98billion high-speed railway link
Officials deployed cherry pickers to access the protesters, who are situated in the trees above Euston Square in central London
The environmental campaigners claim the small green space near the Euston station will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers
Construction workers have been attempting to continuing with their jobs – but one expert claimed the protesters could be buried alive
‘What’s your game? Why are you stood here?’
Another protester blasts: ‘You’ve completely invaded our space without any warning. You’ve assaulted him. You’re now continuing that.’
Why is HS2 so controversial?
The Woodland Trust, a conservation charity, calls HS2 ‘a grave threat to the UK’s ancient woods, with 108 at risk of loss or damage’.
But HS2 says only 0.29 square kilometres (0.11 square miles) of ancient woodland will be lost during the first phase. HS2 says it will reduce journey times between London and northern England and add capacity to Britain’s crowded rail network.
Critics question whether HS2 is worth its ballooning price tag – now reported more than £100billion – especially after a pandemic that might permanently change people’s travel habits.
The first phase linking London and Birmingham is due to open between 2029 and 2033, according to HS2 Ltd.
In September Boris Johnson joined the front line to see work begin on HS2, as shovels hit the ground in Solihull.
He said the ‘incredible’ scheme, launched in 2009, would deliver not just ‘22,000 jobs now, but tens of thousands more high-skilled jobs in the decades ahead’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs last year the first trains may not be up and running until 2031. The project has been shrouded in controversy since its birth, with campaigners warning it is ‘decimating countryside and creating a huge financial burden’.
In April wildlife presenter Chris Packham lost a High Court bid to stop ancient woodlands being dug up for the project.
There was also uproar when HS2’s annual report revealed each person working on it was costing the taxpayer almost £100,000 on average.
It also revealed chief executive Mark Thurston was paid £659,416 last year – four times as much as the PM. More than £3.3million was spent on ‘travel and subsistence’ and £802,000 on recruitment fees.
As the tense stand-off continues, he accuses the bailiff of laughing and adds: ‘What are you doing and why? You can’t answer a simple question.’
Swampy speaks up again, addressing a different worker: ‘Why is your guy stood down here on my arm? And his foot landed on my head!’
‘[The bailiff] jumped down on us without us wearing any protective equipment, which we’ve been asking for, with you working above our heads,’ Swampy also alleges.
Around the same time the video surfaced on Saturday, the men were warned ‘they are putting themselves in even greater danger’ by not leaving as weather conditions worsen.
This follows warnings from rescue specialist Peter Faulding, reported in The Times, that bailiffs risk burying the HS2 activists alive in tunnels
The protesters are members of a group calling itself ‘HS2 Rebellion,’ echoing the left-wing ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protests which brought London to a standstill last year.
The pair have constructed the tunnels under Euston Square Gardens, aimed at blocking the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail link.
The groups claims the small green space near the Euston station will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers.
HS2 Ltd said in a statement on Saturday: ‘In the past 24 hours the weather conditions have worsened and further heavy rain and sleet is forecast, which could lead to the tunnel becoming even more unstable.
‘We are concerned that the occupants of the tunnel are now impeding efforts to help them, shutting themselves off underground, and preventing us from checking air quality as we supply them with air.’
They added: ‘As carbon dioxide can build up in the tunnel, they are putting themselves in even greater danger.’
The company also called on the campaigners to leave as the heavy rain seen this weekend is expected to continue.
On Saturday, cherry pickers were at the Euston site as evictions continued – this time focusing on the scaffolding structure erected by campaigners.
On Friday, the protesters said ‘liquid mud’ was pouring into the tunnel system.
In a video issued by HS2 Rebellion on Friday, Swampy said: ‘There was liquid mud coming through the wall last night, the rain stopped and we informed them (bailiffs) of this problem.
‘They said they were going to pump the water out, the rain has now stopped and loads more liquid mud is coming down now.
HS2 (High Speed 2) is a plan to construct a new high-speed rail linking London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.
The line is to be built in a ‘Y’ configuration. London will be on the bottom of the ‘Y’, Birmingham at the centre, Leeds at the top right and Manchester at the top left.
Work on Phase One began in 2017 and the government plans envisage the line being operational by 2026.
Who are the Euston Five? Swampy’s band of burrowers include wealthy Laird’s teenage eco-warrior children, geography lecturer, 48, and ex-drug runner who escaped from open prison
By Dan Sales for MailOnline
The gang of at least five activists who have halted the £98billion HS2 project with a series of secret tunnels include a geography teacher and an ex-drug runner prison fugitive.
Their efforts have so far infuriated bailiffs trying to remove them from underneath gardens near Euston Station.
And coming from such a wide spectrum of backgrounds, each bring a different set of skills to the protest.
But the authorities warned they could be putting their own lives at risk if they did not crawl out of the tunnels.
The National Eviction Team said: ‘The unlawful activists appear to have put themselves in danger of a further tunnel collapse, and potentially of intercepting nearby gas and water pipes, leading to risks of suffocation, flooding and drowning.’
Here MailOnline takes a closer look at the five behind the tunnels:
Environmentalist Daniel ‘Swampy’ Hooper seen at the tunnel entrance at Euston
Swampy in his heyday in the 1990s when he would build tunnels to support his protests
Professional protester: Daniel Hooper, 48, AKA Swampy
Swampy, whose real name is Daniel Marc Hooper, became a household name in the 1990s during a variety of environmental protests.
He is best known for spending a week in a complex series of tunnels dug in the path of the expansion of the A30 road in Fairmile, Devon in 1996.
Resisting attempts at eviction by police, Swampy was eventually removed from the network of man-made tunnels.
In 1997, Swampy took part in another tunnel protest against the building of a second runway at Manchester Airport, and has also been involved with the Trident nuclear submarine protest camp at Faslane, Scotland.
In 2019, Swampy took part in an Extinction Rebellion protest by attaching himself to a concrete block at the entrance to the Valero Energy fuel refinery in Pembrokeshire.
Last October, he was arrested at Jones Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire, having occupied a treehouse to prevent trees being chopped down on the route of HS2.
Dr Maxey has sent a video from inside the secret tunnels talking about the bailiffs’ efforts
Dr Maxey protest against trees from being cut down to make way for a housing development
Geography teacher: Dr Larch Maxey, 48
Dr Larch Maxey is an Extinction Rebellion activist who was a full-time volunteer for the radical group in 2019 and helped organise hunger strike occupations that year.
In an interview with the Guardian, the long-time climate activist said he had a PhD in sustainability and was a geography lecturer and post-doctoral researcher for 17 years.
However, he said he had no income and described himself as a ‘relaxed freegan’ – someone who only eats food that would be going to waste.
The Bristol-based activist has said: ‘I work about 14 hours, six days a week with Extinction Rebellion. My role involves helping develop and implement our strategy and ideas for actions, and linking up with international groups.
‘This is my life’s purpose, and I couldn’t be happier and more fulfilled. I’m happy to spend every waking moment bringing this change about.’
Breen – known as Scotty and Digger Down – was seen inside the HS2 tunnel
Iain Oliver, Scott Breen and Mark Keir pictured together outside Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court
Reformed drugs runner: Scott Breen, 47, AKA Digger Down
Scotty Breen had been sent to prison for his role in a courier in a heroin deal but absconded in 2007.
He moved in with his girlfriend at Faslane peace camp, getting her pregnant, but was caught after six months on the run.
Little is known about his background, but has moved in political circles and was pictured once with former Green Party candidate Mark Keir.
Since his brush with law he has turned his life around and become a key part of the Extinction Rebellion movement.
He and Keir protested against HS2 back in 2019 locking themselves together with a concrete tube blocking a Hillingdon site.
Lazer, believed to be 20, has filmed video from the tunnel as he protests against HS2
Lazer is understood to be Lachlan Blaze Sandford, brother of another protester Blue Sandford
Juggler: Understood to be called Lachlan Blaze Sandford, 20, AKA Lazer
Lazer is believed to be the brother of Blue Sandford and from the super-wealthy Sandford family.
He is pictured in images alongside his Laird father Roc Sandford, who refers to him as ‘his kids’ in a video of their actions at a precious Extinction Rebellion protest.
He is filmed juggling on a number of occasions on a sparse social media presence but is frequently seen alongside Blue and her sister.
Lazer is understood to have take part in the Jones Hill Wood sitting protests back in March 2020.
He said from the tunnel of the bailiffs: ‘They have kept us constantly awake via loud noises once they have been dropping dirt on us continuously so we haven’t had a chance to sleep.’
Blue Sandford, 18, had stayed in the tunnels overnight and gave interviews on the protest
Ms Sandford was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg and said she wanted to rewild London
Writer: Blue Sandford, 18, AKA The British Greta Thunberg
The teenager last year brought out her ‘manifesto’ called Challenge Everything: An Extinction Rebellion Youth guide to saving the planet.
And she revealed in an interview promoting the book she had been arrested in September as part of the controversial protest group’s fortnight of action in London.
She said she spent the start of her 17th birthday in a custody cell and a month later was charged with obstruction of the highway. It is not clear what happened with the case.
Ms Sandford, whose real name is Isla, was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg by The Times after doing an interview with them, but later told euronews she did not appreciate the comparison.
In the same chat she said she wanted to ‘rewilding cities like London’ and advocated ‘guerrilla gardening’ to make wild spaces.
The family live part time on the island of Gometra in the Inner Hebrides.
Their aristocratic father gave both Lachlan and Isla presents made from rubbish at Christmas.