Hundreds rally in city centre to protest tree felling

Hundreds of protesters marched behind a hearse which carried a tree stump and funeral flowers in Sheffield city centre today to protest the unnecessary felling of healthy street trees. 

The procession gathered at Devonshire Green before marching down the blocked off Division Street to Barkers Pool.

Once at City Hall, several speakers took to the microphone to read speeches, poems and sing songs in front of the heaving crowd.

The long list of speakers included Calvin Payne and Councillor Alison Teal who will both be in court on October 27th, standing accused of breaking a court injunction.

Nicky, who wishes not be identified any further, organised the event within a week. She said: “The aim was to let the council know, again, that we’re not happy about this.

“Manchester is planting a tree for every man, woman and child that lives there. Leeds has just agreed to plant hundreds of thousands of trees to help with natural flood defences and what are we doing in Sheffield? We’re cutting down over 5,000 healthy trees down that don’t need to come down at all.

“We’re talking about a wonky curbstone that is making a hundred-year-old oak tree come down. It’s ridiculous.”

Tempers have flared in recent weeks over tree felling and several peaceful protests have taken place, including a vigil for the 100-year old Vernon Oak in Dore.

Dan, who also doesn’t wish to be identified further, escaped his home country of Chile while it was under a military dictatorship.

Though Dan had to seek political asylum in the UK as he feared for his life, he thinks the protestors in Sheffield are fighting against the same thing.

“It’s part of a people’s efforts to protect the environment from the system that’s corrupt and destructive. This is not isolated, it’s not just about trees.

“People are fighting because they see that the system is destroying the environment. They poison the water, the air, our bodies with chemicals, our mind with oppressive ideas and now they are even poisoning the ground. Where’s next? Space?”

Another rally will be held on October 27th prior to the injunction trials, starting at West Bar.

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