First the good news, not a single street tree was felled in Sheffield last week. The reason for this is the hugely brave efforts of campaigners on Meersbrook Park Road.
On Monday they were subjected to the worst violence we’ve seen so far from the private security guards employed by Amey. Indeed even people who were standing outside of the safety barriers were subject to what most people view as assault (not reasonable force) and suffered injuries. This tweet on Twitter has also been doing the rounds. See this video on YouTube, it’s is not the worst example of violence by any means, those of you on Facebook will have seen the worst ones.
The local MP for that area, Louise Haigh, saw the violence first hand and so for the first time, spoke out against the felling.
It is therefore no coincidence that felling has been paused since then, with Amey’s Darren Butt confirming the pause in an interview on Thursday. This is good because it has put them on the back foot for the first time since 27th November. But be under no illusion that this is all positive. The heroic efforts on Meersbrook Park Road have caused yet another PR headache for Amey and Sheffield Council, but they have confirmed they will be back next week, having reviewed their options.
The Police have been in attendance for the last two weeks, and have stood by as the violence has escalated. They are trying to tread a fine line, allowing Peaceful Protest, and not arresting campaigners unless clear laws are broken. But they are also watching on as reasonable force by the security guards turns to unreasonable force, and then assault.
Importantly, there are things you can do to help. You don’t have to have been the victim of a crime to report one. If you have been shocked at either the videos shared with you or other videos and believe a crime has been committed (as we do), then click on the below link and report the crime. Be sure to note that the events occurred on Meersbrook Park Road on Monday 22nd January. The more people who report the crime, the more likely the Police are going to step in and prevent such violence from the Security Guards. Please do this. We need to pressure the Police into acting to stop the violence.
You may well have seen in the media a story about tree campaigners poisoning arborists with laced tea. This is clearly fake news and we’re genuinely appalled that such outrageous accusations have been mainly lapped up by the unquestioning media. This was clearly a planned diversionary media story by Sheffield Council and Amey to drown out the stories of assault. A lighter take on this story can be read here!
Alleged Injunction Breach:
We also found out this week that another campaigner will be taken to court for breaching the injunction. We are only aware of one so far, but expect more in the coming weeks.
STAG PR Team Vacancies:
But what it does highlight is the absolute need for STAG to have its own PR team and PR lead. Many of those previously doing this vital work have had to step down due to other life priorities. Anyone reading this who has PR/media expertise, and who has the time to be able to do such a role in STAG, please let us know via the website contact page.
Tales from Stump City Documentary:
Coming soon to a screen near you. A story of people from across the city and from all backgrounds, coming together, all bonding over the unnecessary felling of mature healthy street trees. The makers of this ‘must watch’ documentary need your support to get it over the production line, please visit here
No Stump City Group:
You may also be aware of the No Stump City group, which led the efforts on the Jeremy Corbyn petition, and which has also tirelessly picketed Labour Party meetings across the city. This has led to some success. Their latest set of picketing is coming up next week, see below details
WHAT: Information picket/ outside lobby of Sheffield Momentum meeting.
THEME: “Axe PFIs, not trees”
DATE: Wednesday, 31 January
TIME: 6:25 p.m. (sharp) to 7:15 p.m.
PLACE: Central United Reformed Church, 60 Norfolk St. S1 2JB
A special welcome is extended to our NVDA ‘brigades’ to also work a brief evening shift on 31 Jan. and give Momentum members ‘the straight goods’ on MPR trees (and elsewhere)
More details and a Facebook event (of course!) coming soon.
NO STUMP CITY firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally just a reminder about our own next Public Meeting being held this coming Monday 29th January in the upstairs room at the Banner Cross Pub. As ever, arrive at 7.45pm for an 8pm prompt start.