Do or Die

An article from Do or Die Issue 6. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 112.

Freiburg Tree Eviction

This interview was snatched during Gorleben with a German activist.

"Traffic through Freiburg to Switzerland was getting heavier. The plan was to put a four lane motorway going through Freiburg to the Eastern direction, just one part of Germany's road plan. The fights for and against are about twenty years old. The people living in the main street were told by politicians the only solution to pollution and dangerous traffic is to have a four lane motorway somewhere else, so they say "Okay!"

Well, I live on that road and I don't want it anywhere. I would rather move, but nature can't move. I was born in this region, in the valley where they want this new road, and I don't want to give up my home, my nature. That is why I am fighting for it.

The construction was planned to start three years ago but nothing happened. But then in October '96 they wanted to start cutting trees. We found out about this. It consists mainly of oak trees of some 200 years old. There were many actions before, like human chains of about five thousand people for the day, surrounding the park.

At 4 am of an October morning, one week before work was to start, 50 of us met in a big house with a bus full of equipment. At 5 am we arrived at the park and by 6 am, we had everything we wanted in the trees. On one platform, we had a computer with internet and fax powered by solar, another platform was for the media; we would lower it down and hoist them up with it. Rampenplan gave us a kitchen for a ground support camp. All the platforms were 6 by 8 foot with tarps fixed like a tent and swinging from branches. Between four trees we fixed a net; the net was from Claremont Road.

We knew about our eviction from three different sources, having the exact date and time. On a page we had on the Internet we had a message from a woman (we think it was the mother of a policeman) - she told us her son was going to be in Freiburg on Tuesday morning to evict us. Also, a woman from the Red Cross told us they were booked for food in the park Tuesday lunchtime. And a bus driver for the police said they will come at 4 am.

We had lots of local support, but they were not into conflict. Some even said if we resisted or fought back, they would help the police evict us!

On Monday, we cleared the ground camp and set off the phone tree for the following morning. Up to twenty of us stayed awake in the trees all night.

At 4 am they came. 400 police surrounded the site while they used cherrypickers with police climbers to evict us. 600 local supporters came to watch from the other side of the line. It took one day - we did not resist.

Many good things came out of it - we stayed as a group and every Tuesday for the next year, we had a thousand people on a Critical Mass through the streets of Freiburg. All kinds of people, young, old, anarchists and doctors all protesting against pollution, cars, and traffic. And every Tuesday we would stop at the park and have a picnic.

Do or Die DTP/web team: