Tree protest has remained peaceful

Sheffield tree protesters
Sheffield tree protesters
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We have now heard Bryan Lodge’s views on the tree injunction verdict.

I would like to focus on what the judge said about peaceful protest which illustrates the way the campaign is conducted.

In his report the judge said “the defendants are opposed to the whole concept of a PFI contract and regard both the council and Amey with the utmost bitterness and distrust.”

But he said “not Amey’s employees with whom they have developed friendly relationships.”

The judge also said: “It is important to emphasise that the evidence before me, accepted by the council, is that the conduct of those engaging in this direct action has at all times been peaceful.”

Anyone who has followed the campaign will know many STAG supporters have raised issues with their MPs.

And that, in some cases, replies have highlighted complaints by the council/Amey about the alleged behaviour of tree protesters.

A list of alleged incidents has now been supplied to STAG but without any dates, people, locations etc to substantiate them.

If there really was an ongoing serious problem, I would expect a detailed incident log to have been started long ago backed by supporting evidence.

In June 2015 residents on Wayland Road offered tea and cakes to workmen who arrived to fell some of their trees.

STAG was formed shortly after and the campaign slogan is “Power to the Peaceful”.

It’s wrong for Labour MPs to seek to tarnish the reputation for peaceful protest STAG has built over the last two years.

Hundreds of constituents have contacted MPs to seek their support for a rethink of the council’s tree felling programme.

MPs could have stepped in to bring about genuine dialogue and mediation between the council and STAG.

Instead they have just closed ranks within the group of Labour elected representatives that rule this city as a one-party state – for now.

Peter Garbutt

Sheffield Green Party