Early yesterday morning (January 25) about 40 bailiffs, supported by around 50 police officers, arrived at what protesters have called the Mainshill Solidarity Camp, in Douglas, South Lanarkshire.

Protesters claim up to 60 people are on the site in ‘underground bunkers, fortresses, tree houses and 100-ft-high wooden frames’ in their fight against the planned open cast coal mine.

According to protesters on the site police and the bailiffs used vehicles to break down barricades and arrested 18 of the activists.

They claim others remain on the site, but activists have said this in the past as a way to slow down evictions.

Activists occupied the ancient semi-natural woodland site in June 2009, which has been fighting Scottish Coal’s plans for this mine as well as four other open cast coal mines in the area for the past decade.

Scottish Coal, the UK’s largest open-cast coal mining company, was granted permission to mine 1.7 million tonnes of coal from the woods by South Lanarkshire Council last February.

Former chairman of the Douglas Community Council, Harry Thompson, said: “Despite massive community opposition to the mine at Mainshill, Scottish

Coal and South Lanarkshire Council continue to disregard the interests

of those living in proximity to the mines.

“The particulate matter released in the open cast mining process in this area has caused unusually high rates of cancer and lung disease, granting permission to

a new mine 1000 metres from the local hospital is the final straw.”

A spokesman for the landowners the Douglas and Angus Estate said the operation ‘would not be rushed’.

Luke Walsh

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