Khimki victory: Maxim Solopov released!

Tord Björk | Action,Environmental movements,International action,Repression,Russia | Monday, October 18th, 2010

Maxim Solopov

Moscow and antifascist accused of actions in connection with the Khimki forest conflict is great news. Now we have one more possibility for historic victories against repression this year after the sentences stating that two spokespersons for Climate Justice Action in Copenhagen were not guilty. In both conflicts problems still remain. We have still not seen the end of the trials in Denmark and some 200 people were detained or interogated by the police in the repression wave after the Khimki conflict escalated. Gaskarov is still detained.

In both cases is neither the high way through the Khimki forest conflict or the much harder issue climate justice solved. But there is the possibility that some kind of repression in connection with summits as well as local environmental conflicts have reached a stage were the authorities cannot go to far. In the Russian case due to an extraordinary commitment from very different domestic actors to unite in solidarity against the repression, in the case of Denmark and the climate summit there was rather a lack of solidarity among domestic actors but the juridical system could not accept the extremist views put forward by the police which actually had backing from much of the political parties. The Danish state imploded when trying to combine the extremist authoritarian measures by the police and traditional Western juridical arguments.

In both cases international solidarity was helpful. Here both social forums and the climate justice movement have done very well. We may think we are small sometimes, and facing the present social and ecological crisis this feeling can be seen as justified. But we should keep in mind that also if we see ourselves with these eyes there are times when solidarity can arise. It is important ahead of COP-16 in Cancun and the future of local social and environmental conflicts what have happened in the struggle against repression this year. To me it is especially inspiring how Russian movements have been able to cooperate. They have been an example for the rest of the world. May we be able to follow their example and unite in solidarity across different ideologies whenever it is necessary to stop repression.

Thankyou everyone that contributed to the victories.

Tord Björk

Maxim Solopov released – English press-release (fast translation)

Khimki town court ruled to release Maxim Solopov from the arrest
Press release of the campaign for the release of Khimki hostages
October 18, 2010

Khimki town court has ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for Maxim
Solopov from arrest to a written pledge not to leave town. The court
lasted from 11 am to 4 pm today, October 18, with a three-hour break for
preparation of the court ruling. Judge Svetlana Galanova has ruled to
release Maxim Solopov from the arrest immediately in the court room.
Maxim was released in echange for the guarantees provided by Lev
Ponomaryov, executive director of movement «For Human Rights», human
rights activists  Sergey Kovalyov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, State Duma
deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein, as well as Maxim’s university
professors Galina Yershova, Dmitry Belyaev and Yekaterina Di Santo.
Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and profesor Yekaterina Di Santo were
present at the court hearings.

Yekaterina DiSanto testified in court for Maxim and told during the court
hearing that it is necessary to release Maxim in order for him to continue
his studies and pursue his career as a researcher. She told the court that
Maxim is «a very talented person, a good student and I’m glad that besides
that he is also an antifascist».

The prosecutors have presented to the court the same reasons for Maxim’s
arrest as before, which were not valid for ruling in favor of the renewal
of the arrest. The only new arguments provided by the investigator
Yermilov were the testimonies of some witness, which supposedly
incriminated Solopov, the photos which showed a person in black mask, who
was supposedly Solopov, and the document provided by the Federal Security
Service (FSB),that read that Maxim was detained on numerous occasions
during «illegal» manifestations. When asked how can you recognize Solopov
on these photos, Yermilov couldn’t provide any proof for his statements.
Maxim spoke in court and demanded that his own testimonies are considered
by the judges, including his statement that he was «taken as a hostage by
the unprofessionalism of the law enforcement agencies».

The testimonies provided by the investigators were proven wrong by the
defense — Maxim’s lawyer Yury Yeronin and human rights activist Lev
Ponomaryov. The latter indicated that during this court procedure not the
guilt of the suspect was to be established, but only the form of pre-trial
restriction was to be chosen. He also said that the procurator’s office
was currently checking the legality of the fact that Maxim was
interrogated in the absence of the lawyer and that he was subjected to
pressure by the investigators.

The court has considered the arguments of the defense and ruled to release
Maxim Solopov from the arrest.

«Everything that happened recently was considered. Both the wide social
support, the guarantees provided to the court, the speeches in court were
taken into account. This valuable result was possible due to all the
things that we did», said Lev Ponomaryov following the court ruling.
As part of the days of action, initiated by the Campaign for the release
of Khimki hostages, solidarity actions were held in 35 cities in 12
countries. Khimki town court and other administrative bodies in Russia
received hundreds of letters of protest from around the world, which
demanded to release the Khimki hostages and to stop the campaign of
falsification of evidence against them. This was partly due to the fact
that Alexey and Maxim are well known social activists, but also due to the
fact that the investigators used illegal methods when trying to get
evidence, including mass arrests of young people and torture. The
protocols of Maxim’s and Alexey’s detention were also falsified.
On October 15 Moscow regional court has annulled the previous decision of
Khimki town court for the prolongation of the arrest of another arrested
in the Khimki case, Alexey Gaskarov. His arrest is to be reconsidered by
the Khimki court some time before October 27.

A video tribute to tree huggers 1730, 1971 and 2010 Bishnoi, Stockholm, Khimki and Stuttgart

Tord Björk | civil disobedience,Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

2010 we see the outburst of tree hugging activism to protect a forest close to Moscow and a park in Stuttgart against large scale infrastructure projects. Both cases have seen heavy repression and wide spread support challenging the development model and those in power.

They have their roots in strong commitments to protect trees all over the world in old times and from the very beginning of environmental activism in the 1970s. The Chipko movement in India that inspired people all over the world started among Himalayan women in 1973 and sees its roots in the acts of Bishnoi women in 1730. One of the first confrontational environmentalism was the Elms battle in Stockholm 1971. With success the action protected the trees with mass civil disobedience forcing the police to withdraw and the politicians to change their minds and decision.

As a tribute to all tree huggers here is videos on the four tree hugging movements are collected:

The Chipko movement starting in the 1970s, its inspiration from the Bishnoi women martyrs 1730 and its Southern Indian counterpart the Appiko movement:

The Elms battle in Stockholm 1971 when some thousand activists stopped the ongoing felling of the trees and being celebrated by 250 000 visiting supporters during the continued occupation of the trees until the politicians changed their decision:

The Khimki battle during the end of this decade have seen the same mobilization methods as in Western Europe but have met heavy repression against journalists challenging the corruption behind the motor way project through a forest close to Moscow. Above are people with right wing extremist symbols on their clothes attacking the environmental camp in July 2010. A collection of videos you find here:
A video on the situation now:
The press release about the founding of the Coalition ”For the forest near Moscow”:
The call for international solidarity actions in many languages and mcuh other material at the campaign website:

A longer article with links on the subject: ”Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists” at

The struggle against the development project Stuttgart 21 have escalated and caused mass demonstrations with larger and larger number of partcipants, with 100 000 partcipants according to organizers as well as mass civil disobedience actins under heavy attack by the police. A collection of videos you find here:

Call out for solidarity: situation by Hanno Böck:

One of the tree huggers in 1971 on her way to win the battle

Chipko tree hugger movement videos

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

The Chipko movement started in 1973 in Indian Himalaya to protect trees from being cut by hugging them making it hard for the men coming and felling the trees. It spread all over India and inspired similar tree hugger movement all over the world. It was inspired by the Bishnois and the tragic but successful struggle to protect their forest in 1730. Below there are some videos about what happened in 1730, part of a documentary with one of the main activists Sudesha Devi and the story how the movement developed, a documentary on both the Chipko and Appiko movement, the story of Chandi Prasad and on Mirabehn.

From Youtube presentation: The Bishnois are a community of nature worshippers in the state of Rajasthan, India. They also have a sizeable presence in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat,Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. Bishnois can be called the first environmentalists of India because they have been religiously following rules of environment and wild life protection and conservation since 1485, when environmentalist saint Guru Jambeshwar made it part of the Bishnoi religion by incorporating two cardinal rules: “you shall not cut green trees”, “you shall be compassionate to all living beings”.

Unlike most Hindu communities, Bishnois bury their dead instead of cremating them. This is because of the strict prohibition on the felling of trees, the wood of which is required for cremation.

For centuries, the Bishnois have been following these rules undeterred by the trying conditions in the arid desert. By doing so, they live in perfect harmony with the environment.

(The illustration) is a painting inspired by the very brave Bishnoi ”Amrita Devi” (1730 A.D.), credited to have started the famous ”Chipko” (hindi: ”to stick together”) movement. There is also a picture of Chipko movement activists:

From Youtube presentation: A clip from Sudesha, a 1983 documentary film by Deepa Dhanraj for Faust Films.

Part of the series “As Women See It.”

An unsung heroine of the Chipko movement, Sudesha Devi is still active in the Henwalghati Valley of Tehri District, now working alongside Chipko veterans on the Beej Bachao Andolan.

The video has many stories and pictures:

From Youtube presentation: Along with the more-famed Chipko movement in North India, villagers in the South also resorted to hugging trees. Two-and-half decades ago, they used this as a means of protecting their forests. Pandurang Hegde, the leader of the Appikko movement, explains to FN what it has achieved, some 25 years later.

In the tradition of Gandhi and the Chipko movement,they used direct action to save the forests of the Western Ghats. An inspirational story of a non-violent grass-roots movement that arose in the vilages of Southern India.

In the tradition of Gandhi and the Chipko movement,they used direct action to save the forests of the Western Ghats. An inspirational story of a non-violent grass-roots movement that arose in the villages of Southern India (including a long part on the Chipko movment.)

Some pictures from the video:

CNN IBN on Chandi Prasad, grassroot Ghandian and one of the founders of the Chipko movement

A long documentary “Die Bäume umarmen” (Hug the trees) in German on Mirabehn, the follower of Gandhi from Great Britain and her struggle for the Himalayan forests.

The Battle of the Elms 1971 videos

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

The Battle of the Elms was one of the first violent environmental conflicts broadcasted world wide in 1971. After years of tearing down old buildings in the city center and youth counter culture protesting against commercialized culture and authoritarian society the plan to cut down the Elms in the very heart of the city was strongly opposed. In the night between 12 and 13th of May some thousand activists gathered to prevent the authorities that secretly had planned the felling of the trees during the night. All policemen on duty with batons, dogs and horses were sent to the spot to protect the workers. The main organization , Alternativ stad (Alternative city, today a local chapter of Friends of the Earth) behind the protests had a policy of non-violence which was the reason why so many were there. But when the chain saws started to cut into the trees some people were able to break through with some violence the police line, stop the workers and climb the trees. The police used their batons strongly at times and the horses became dangerous as their were whipped by some mounted policemen. Some very few stones and sand was thrown against the police and a crane sabotaged. When the people had occupied the trees the police ordered the workers to stop and withdraw.

The politicians continued to state that the Elms had to be cut down according to democratic rules. Earlier during the conflict the municipality of Stockholm turned the issue over to the government who confirmed the decision already made. The politicians claimed that the felling of the trees was necessary to not prolong the building of a new subway, the subway company stated this was wrong. The only thing that changed if the elms were not cut down was the size of a subway entrance hall.

250 000 participated in the many weeks of celebrations that followed the first victory. After five days the politicians gave up and decided in favor of the opponents. 70 percent was for the Elms in opinion polls and 30 percent also supported the methods used by the activists. Schools were heavily involved. The organization of pupils had promised to mobilize schools after each other in the whole Stockholm area to guard the trees for months. In fact the Battle of the Elms was a military defeat against representative democracy which went down in Swedish history as a victory for peoples democracy. During the millenium celebrations in Stockholm organized by the municipality the Battle of the Elms was a main symbol for democratization of society.

News video from 13.5

The day after public service monopoly TV including the clashes during the night. Politicians and authorities still claim that the elms have to be cut down. The police says they want to avoid serious personal damage and that they did not have enough policemen during the night for avoiding that.

More from this video:

The workers start to cut a tree. The tree is still standing today.

Trying to hold the police line

Sitting down in front of mounted police

News on the Battle of the Elms starting with aerial photos and interviewing Alternativ Stad (Alternativ City) the organisation behind the protests.

More pictures from this video

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms from 1971, part I

More pictures from this video

Signature campaign gathering 40 000 names in a few days before the action

The planned subway entrance which according to the politicians made it necessary to fell the Elms

Citizens arguing against the politicians

The head of the subway in his US car

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms, part II

More pictures from the video

Girl hurt during the action

Climbing the trees

Boy with flute in the trees

Mounted police looking up at the people he no longer can reach

Girl in the trees looking down

Worker pointing at the people in the trees

Wounded by batons in hospital

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms, part III

More pictures from the video

Organizing continued protests

Pupils from schools organized by their central organization SECO  guard the trees preparing for doing it the whole summer


All the time music

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms, part IV

More pictures from the video

Announcing the victory under the elms

Alternativ stad cleaning up and planting new trees in the park after the actions

Women supporting the protests believing that if this battle is won other things in society also can become better

A youth perspective of the times 1965-1971 starting short with youth mods culture 1965 and then the Battle of the Elms and some clippings from the picture “Upp till kamp” – raise up and fight.

More pctures from the video

Stuttgart 21 police violence and protest videos

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

Police violence in the park 30.9

A collection of videos from the conflict concerning a new plan for railway and city construction in Stuttgart

23.4 Demo and background with pictures and english song:

Promotion video for the project:

27.4 Banana song against S21 at Monday demo

17.5 “Oben bleiben” (Stay above) rap live at Monday demo

The same Oben bleiben rap as music video:

12.6 Demo in Stuttgart against the crisis – and a police state

24.6 “Oben bleiben” (Stay above), Jazzvideo supporting the resistance

7.8 demo

13.8 Parkpropaganda video

13.8 protest song

13.8 evening demo

14.8 civil disobedience training and 20000 demo mixed with Die letze schlacht gewinnen wir (The last battle we will win)

17.8 “Wir sind das volk” protest and back ground

19.8 protests against demolishing parts of the railway station

20.8 30000 in silent Demo

20.8 Silent march documentation

20.8 music after silent demo

20.8 Unofficial demo inside the railway station


27.8 40000 demo under the rainbow

27.8 ARD on 50000 demo after 40 weeks of demonstrations every monday

7.9 Tree house evacuated by the police

30.9 Morning, police operation against tent city

30.9 escalation in the park

30.9 water cannons against protesters in the park

30.9 Full conflict, 200 wounded

30.9 Merkel, ARD and ZDF on the S21 protests ending with the reporter comment: It is unbelievable that the protests still are peaceful (after reporting on the massive polcie violence):

30.9 Evening photos with music “Horror in the park”

1.10 One tree down:

1.10 Stuttgart 21 demo trailer

1.10 rap on 30.9 protest and police behaviour

1.10 Tagesschau

1.10 100000 demo, “Find yourself another people” placard

1.10 The day after Stuttgarter Nachricten video with links to many more videos and artcles about the conflict (in German)

Wenn the state even use teargas against pupils, what will they use against us?

We were peaceful – what were you?

We are the people – the classical slogan in front of those in power in DDR, Eastern Germany 1989.

Call for support in the struggle against Stuttgart 21

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

Dear Friends,

we, activists against “Stuttgart 21 (S21)” in Germany are asking for
your solidarity and support in our struggle to stop Europe’s “largest
infrastructure-project”, to protect our city and to achieve true democracy.

Two days ago, Thursday September 30th, the escalation began: a massive
police force – using water-canons, pepper spray and batons – pushed
aside over 10.000 peaceful protesters, who were trying to protect their
park and its trees with acts of civil disobedience, simply refusing to
get out of the way. The demonstration of state-power was shocking. Over
300 protesters were injured, some seriously, many of them
school-children, who had been participating in a students protest-march
officially scheduled for that day a long time in advance. Four people
had to have eye-surgery after being hit by the water-canon, one may
loose an eye. In the night the shredders moved in and began turning the
beautiful old trees into sawdust in front of thousands of shocked but,
strong and peaceful demonstrators. Yesterday, 100.000 (one hundred
thousand) demonstrated peacefully against this act of state violence –
the largest protest against S21 ever.

Below we give some background-information on the project. But it is
important to consider that this struggle is not just about a railway
station in a German provincial-capital.
It is about overcoming the arrogance of those in power, it is about
peoples voices being heard, it is about real democracy. And it will not
only affect people in Stuttgart or in Germany: if we stop Europe’s
“largest project” in the centre of one of its most conservative and
economically powerful corners, we can change Europe from the bottom up!

Please sign on the letter below (and attached) – asking for an end of
police-violence, a moratorium and to let the citizens of Stuttgart
decide – and send your signatures to and
by Saturday 9th October.
We will deliver the letter with the list of signatories to the local,
regional and federal government and also to the media.

Please, also send messages of solidarity and support to the activists –
we will try to publish these and read them at the rallies

In solidarity
Johannes Lauterbach and Carol Bergin
Colibri e.V.


The Stuttgart 21 project is advertised as part of the “Magistrale for
Europe”, a high-speed railway line from Paris/France to
Bratislava/Slovakia. As such, it is part of the neoliberal EU agenda,
which places infrastructure in the service of corporate interests above
the interests of local communities. It involves the building of an
entirely new railway station in the centre of Stuttgart, which will be
built deep underground as a drive-through station to replace the 19th
century terminus. To achieve this
a large section of the city’s central park with hundreds of beautiful
old trees will be destroyed
one of the best working railway stations in Germany, with easy one-level
access to all trains, will be turned into a narrow tunnel, threatening
to become a bottle neck due to limitations in size of the tunnel and
forcing passengers to climb up and down long stairways
parts of the railway building – a national heritage – are being
dismantled: this destruction has already started and roused the anger of
tens of thousands of citizens
the tunnel is posing a potential threat to precious mineral-water
sources, which are located a few miles downhill
a series of tunnels will be built into sensitive geological formations,
threatening the stability of Stuttgart’s hillside, and likely going to
produce massive additional costs
Estimates calculate the resulting gain in travel time at 1-2 minutes.
But then, this project offers huge real-estate deals and
billion-Euro-contracts for tunnel-building companies – which we now know
to have close ties to decision-makers.
While billions of Euros (estimated costs officially are 4.1 billion,
critical sources estimate rather 10 billion) are lavished on this
prestige-project, urgent improvements in the local and regional railway
system – needed to help remove traffic from the roads to reduce
fuel-consumption and carbon-emissions – are being neglected in the name
of speeding up long distance-travel by a few minutes.

From the early planning stages in the nineties, this project was
opposed by a growing citizens movement. A faked citizens-participation
was offered, in which the one issue not to be discussed was, if the
project should be built at all, or if there were any alternatives.
Demands for a referendum – backed by over 60.000 signatures (more than
10% of Stuttgart’s population) – were denied by those in power. Opinion
polls show, that 54% of citizens are against the project (with only 35%
in favour). There were massive demonstrations, growing in numbers every
week. A new movement emerged: the “park-protectors” – who prepared
themselves for non-violent action with over 2.000 people having pledged
to chain themselves to the trees when the chainsaws move in.
But building permissions were pushed through and this summer the
machines started to attack the old railway building.
The authorities however, underestimated the peoples willingness to
resist. Immediately mass rallies with ten thousands of protesters took
place in addition to acts of peaceful civil disobedience, blocking the
streets for hours. Since July, people are guarding the park and the
building site around the clock, providing early warning. And an amazing
new culture has emerged in the centre of the city, with people holding
meetings in the park, sharing food and talk, joining in art-performances
and strangers having conversations in the public buses. With the state
now using massive police force against its own citizens this struggle
has reached a new dimension.

article in English about S21:

further info (in German only):

videos from protest:
blockades and police-action 30.09.10:
killing trees 01.10.10 early morning:
Demonstration 01.10.2010:


Open letter / Offener Brief

To / an
Angela Merkel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Stefan Mappus, Minister-President of the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg
Wolfgang Schuster, Mayor of Stuttgart

We, active citizens, civil-society organisations and social movements
from all over the world are deeply concerned about the recent events in
the city of Stuttgart related to the controversies about the
infra-structure project „Stuttgart 21“.
We are shocked to hear that, police used water-canons, pepper-spray and
batons against citizens engaging in peaceful acts of civil disobedience
on 30th September, injuring hundreds of people, including many
Germany has a reputation as a democratic country, which owes its
existence to active citizens taking to the streets in the face of state
oppression. We are very disturbed to hear that, in this country today
police-force is used against its own people to implement a highly
controversial project.

Given that:
– the Park “Mittlerer Schlossgarten” and its trees have a special place
in the heart of the people of Stuttgart
– opinion polls show, that over 50% of citizens in Stuttgart and
Baden-Wuerttemberg are opposed to this project
– there have been increasing numbers of reports giving evidence of
potential technical problems and uncertainties in costs, some of of
which have even reached international media attention (see article in
The Independent from 09th August 2010)
– people already have been severely injured and any further enforcement
would result in an escalation
we call upon you
– to stop the use of police-force,
– to put a moratorium on the project, and
– to let the people of Stuttgart decide

We would highly appreciate to see Germany setting an example in peaceful
and democratic conflict resolution, that is giving priority to the
concerns of citizens

(Germans trans.)
Wir, aktive Bürgerinnen und Bürger, Organisationen der Zivilgesellschaft
und soziale Bewegungen aus der ganzen Welt sind tief besorgt über die
jüngsten Ereignisse in Stuttgart bezüglich der Kontroversen um das
Infrastruktur-Projekt “Stuttgart 21”.
Wir sind schockiert zu hören, daß die Polizei Wasserwerfer,
Pfeffer-Spray und Schlagstöcke gegen Bürgerinnen und Bürger einsetzte,
die friedlich zivilen Ungehorsam ausübten und dabei hunderte Personen
verletzte, darunter viele Schulkinder.
Deutschland ist im Ruf eine Demokratie zu sein, deren Dasein aktiven
Bürgerinnen und Bürgern zu verdanken ist, die im Angesicht staatlicher
Unterdrückung auf die Straße gingen. Wir sind sehr verstört zu erfahren,
daß in diesem Land heute Polizeigewalt gegen die eigene Bevölkerung
eingesetzt wird, um ein hoch umstrittenes Projekt durchzusetzen.

In Anbetracht, dass
– der Park „Mittlerer Schlossgarten“ und seine Bäume der Stuttgarter
Bevölkerung ans Herz gewachsen sind
– Meinungsumfragen zeigen, daß 54 % der Bürgerinnen und Bürger das
Projekt ablehnen
– es eine zunehmende Anzahl von Berichten gibt, die auf mögliche
technische Schwierigkeiten und Kostenunsicherheiten hinweisen, über die
selbst in der internationalen Presse berichtet wird (s. The Independent
vom 09. August 2010)
– bereits viele Menschen schwer verletzt wurden und eine weitere
Erzwingung nur zu einer Eskalation führen würde
rufen wir Sie auf
– den Einsatz von polizeilicher Gewalt zu beenden
– ein Moratorium über das Projekt zu verhängen und
– die Bevölkerung Stuttgarts selbst entscheiden zu lassen

Wir würden es sehr begrüßen, wenn Deutschland ein Beispiel für eine
friedliche und demokratische Konfliktlösung geben würde, bei der die
Sorgen der Bevölkerung im Mittelpunkt stehen

Police violence for Stuttgart 21

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Friday, October 1st, 2010

Friday, October 1. 2010, 17:27

Massive struggles in Stuttgart when thousands are willing to protect trees from being cut down in the middle of the city to give room for profitable development. Are we seeing a new protest wave against the current exploitation in city areas were people in common create new alliances and confront the present development model? From Khimki near Moscow to the heart of Stuttgart? Here is a report from Hanno Böck:

In the City Stuttgart in Germany, a massive police operation against environmental protesters took place. More than hundred people got injured at the eviction of a local park in order to cut down trees for the construction of a new train station. There are many reports about police violence. A pupils’ demonstration took place before the event, so lots of young children got injured Also, the protest is deeply rooted in the local population, so many average citizens took part.

The project in question, Stuttgart 21, is the plan to bring Stuttgart’s main train station underground. The current railhead station is planned to be replaced by a through station. The majority of the local population is opposed to that project for various reasons. The new station has only eight tracks while the current one has 16. Before the project has even started, the costs have more than doubled, currently five billion Euros are expected – but even the governor of Baden-Württemberg, Stefan Mappus, admitted that it probably will be more than seven billion. Critics expect it to be much more.

For that, local public transport services have been cut down in the area. Various other savings in social services were done in order to finance the megaproject, for example the subsidies for pupils’ bus tickets have been cut. Stuttgart 21 is not a public transport project, it’s a public transport cut down. It is mainly an urban construction project, because it will free a large area of rail tracks. The city’s mayor Wolfgang Schuster promised a referendum after his last election if the costs of the project raise – he lied, the referendum never took place. Two years ago, environmentalists tried to enforce a referendum by collecting signatures. But it was not approved due to legal reasons – the laws for direct democracy in Baden-Württemberg are upon the worst in whole Germany.

In the park beside the station 300 trees need to be cut for the project. For that reason, activists from the envrionmental organization Robin Wood and others have built tree platforms in some of them in the past weeks. Many average people had declared in advance that they will take part on acts of civil dissobedience to protect the park and called themselves „Parkschützer“ (park protectors).

The violent operation took place on the 30th september. Thousands of policemen evicted the park with water cannons, pepper spray and police batons. In the night, about 20 trees got cut. Afterwards, the local Interior Minister Heribert Rech defended the police act by saying that the protestors had thrown stones. Some hours later he had to admit that this was a false information. Still, and despite of hundrets who got injured, he and the local governor Stefan Mappus from the CDU (conservative party) claimed the police act was completely legitimate.

Video from the occupied trees during the police action:
For (german) information see: