An article from Do or Die Issue 6. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 116.
Groen Front is the Dutch Earth First! We started with our first action somewere in May of last year (1996), at Schiphol airport, against a TV-program for flying holidays. On a critical moment we walked with banners onto the set (it was an almost live program). After a few times one of us got arrested. Eventually they managed to save their program (too bad).
In June '96 we did an action against building a road/bridge in Amsterdam. We climbed with 3 people on a crane that they needed for the work. 6 other activists blocked the crane by the feet. On this part of the workplace they were not able to work for the whole day (successful for us!). We did get a lot of press, because the police came with so many people to take us away (40 policeman/women on 9 activists!).
In Sept '96 we did another action against the bridge in Amsterdam. We did the same as last time, but now they didn't take us away. Later in that month we came back again and planted litle trees on the building site. On April 15th, 1997, we occupied the building site of an aquaduct for the A4, near Rotterdam. By arriving very early we managed to occupy the main gate and three building cranes without any problem. We were with only 18 people. The building of the A4 goes step by step. Every step gives an argument to do the next one. I'm sure you will recognize this. In this case, a viaduct has been standing alone in the meadows for years. On the day of the action the Parliament was supposed to make a decision about the next part of this road. Of course they postponed it.
Anyway, I was pretty surprised that we did not encounter any violence. We saw a policeman in a civil car when we left from the secret meeting place, but there was no police on site. The workers were friendly, even thanked us for a free day. One even explained where the pumps were that keep the site dry. And a lot of press showed up. Eventually we left at 16.00, knowing we that we had cost them at least 50,000 guilders, but maybe even 300,000 dutch guilders, and with big plans for follow-up actions.
On May 26th there was another very fluffy action in Nijmegen. There they are building a parking garage on a historic (Roman) and green site, that is needed because they want to forbid bicycles in the city centre. A very bad idea of course ! We arrived real early, at 6.00 am. The police were waiting at our meeting point, and followed us to the site. But the occupation went without any problems by the police. Some British Earth First! people joined us, making a total of 40 people.
Soon the site turned into a playground for activists; we built a weird construction from scaffolding material ('construction-tower building pipes'), a crane was decorated, some optimists put some tents up, a woodhenge was made, and people were digging holes and traps in the approach slope for the sand lorries. This time we did not get that many press, only from the region.
Both times we were allowed to stay for a day, to the surprise of the English activists ('Can we take some of your coppers with us?').
Now we are very busy giving info-shops in different cities in Holland, in the hope that other activists are going to use this name, with the principles. Besides that we are planning new actions. We like to work on big protests against some infrastructure in Holland. Like a bigger Schiphol, and local airports, actions against the Dutch TGV and a very stupid treintraject [train track?] that they are planning through some nature-area's just for the industry. You'll hear more from Groen Front!!
c/o Friends of the GF!
3508 AB Utrecht