Saxony: Police want to secure camp clearance with a large contingent

The indications of the clearing of a protest camp by nature conservationists near Dresden are growing.

Saxony: Police want to secure camp clearance with a large contingent

The indications of the clearing of a protest camp by nature conservationists near Dresden are growing. The formal notification is still pending. But the preparations are in full swing.

Dresden/Ottendorf-Okrilla (dpa/sn) - The police expect a multi-day operation to clear the protest camp in the Heidebogen forest north of Dresden and want to secure it with a large number of officers. "Five days minimum," said operations manager Dirk Linczmajer on Tuesday in Dresden. But you will take your time because safety is the top priority for everyone involved. "We don't want to endanger ourselves or any participants in the camp."

A staff strength of eight to ten hundreds from several federal states is expected, depending on the deployment situation. If necessary, so-called height intervention forces should also be deployed - these are specialists, for example when tree houses have to be dismantled or demonstrators have to be taken down from trees.

For about a year and a half, climate activists and nature conservationists have been holed up in the Heidebogen - known locally as Heibo - to protest against the gravel quarrying. According to the current legal situation, a 7.5-hectare piece of forest is to be cleared by the end of February. The police operation is intended to secure both the demonstrations and the forestry work. Both could possibly also take place in parallel.

The state-owned company Sachsenforst wants to use several harvesters - wood harvesters that create one hectare of forest a day, but only if they can work without disturbance, said a Sachsenforst employee.

The clearing of the forest has not yet been formally decided. First of all, the Bautzen district office, as the responsible assembly authority, wants to clarify during an inspection of the site on Wednesday morning whether the protest camp has to be dissolved due to a violation of conditions. The primary concern is the threat to public order and security. The tree houses also play a role in this.

The police currently suspect 50 to 60 people in the camp. Linczmajer estimated that the majority of them would not be expected to actively defend themselves if they were to be evacuated. Preparations for the operation were already underway on Tuesday. Among other things, containers were parked.

Meanwhile, criticism of the gravel quarrying and the planned evacuation of the protest camp continued on Tuesday. Climate activists occupied an office of the Greens in Dresden's Löbtau district on Tuesday afternoon. In a tweet published on Tuesday, the group, which calls itself "Bürobesetz@Heibo", calls for an end to the eviction and for a conversation with Saxony's Environment Minister Wolfram Günther (Greens). According to the group, they want to remain in the Greens' office until the clearing and clearing of the forest is canceled.

Green Party leader Christin Furtenbacher demanded that climate activists be treated with care when the protest camp was cleared. The emergency services would have to "de-escalate as much as possible" and ensure that no one was harmed. At the same time, she expressed doubts about the gravel quarrying and demanded a careful environmental impact assessment for its planned expansion. "The advancing climate change and the extinction of species do not tolerate negligence and leniency when it comes to protecting our natural foundations of life."

Furtenbacher wants to get an impression of the situation on site on Wednesday. From the point of view of the Ministry of the Environment, bog protection and gravel mining are compatible if protective measures are observed. Organizations such as the Nature Conservation Union in Saxony disagree. The company Kieswerk KBO has a permit for the mining of gravel on the occupied forest area. It is also planning to expand mining to the "Würschnitz-West" area. However, the planning approval process is still ongoing.