Woodland protesters dig in as eviction team moves in

POLICE arrested a climate change protester after eviction teams dug down into a tunnel to reach the man, who had been living underground at the site of a planned open-cast mine.

There were shouts of "well done" and "you're the best" as the man was removed from tunnels constructed by protesters at Mainshill Wood, near Douglas, South Lanarkshire.

Strathclyde Police said three men and a woman were arrested yesterday as protests continue over Scottish Coal's plans for an open-cast mine on the site.

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A spokeswoman for the campaigners, who have constructed a network of tunnels and treehouses, said the mood was "buoyant", but that concerns were growing over safety.

"There's been a blurring of lines between the responsibilities of police and the National Eviction Team. The eviction team are meant to (remove] people who have attached themselves to things and they then hand people over to the police for arrest.

"The police are meant to ensure safety, but they are getting involved removing people too. Also, the eviction team have removed our requests for a safety meeting, so we're seeing situations where bulldozers are being brought in to fell trees and that work shouldn't be happening yet."

A total of 21 campaigners were arrested on Monday and Tuesday. A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "Our officers are there to protect the safety of those at the site and to facilitate the right to peaceful protest. However, should anyone be observed committing a criminal offence, action will be taken."