|MP Condemns Council's Security Company After Tree Protest Violence|
Man taken to hospital prior to felling of 100-year-old tree
March 18, 2021
Battersea MP, Marsha de Cordova, has said she is “extremely disappointed by the actions of the security company hired by Wandsworth Council.”
It comes after a 70-year-old man was hospitalised after being restrained by guards when protesting the felling of a 100-year-old tree to make way for a new housing development.
Ms de Cordova, who is also the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, posted a statement on Twitter this Tuesday (16 March) after videos emerged which appeared to show a security guard kneeling on the man’s neck, with another on his chest.
He can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” while other members of the public call out “leave him alone”.
The Met’s South West Basic Command Unit told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that, “Whilst in attendance a number of attempts to force entry to the site were made by protestors. One such attempt resulted in the restraint of a male on the floor by security guards. The male was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure and Wandsworth police are currently investigating assault allegations.”
Ms de Cordova said she was “deeply concerned” by the scenes from York Gardens on the Winstanley Estate in Battersea.
She added, “Reports that people were chased, pushed to the ground and restrained, as well as verbally abused by security guards are totally unacceptable.
“I am extremely disappointed by the actions of the security company hired by Wandsworth Council, and have raised my concerns with them directly.
“My constituents have the right to peacefully protest the felling of a tree taking place to make way for a new housing development.
“They have my full support.”
Warning: the video below contains some swearing
A spokesperson for the Winstanley and York Regeneration said, “The safety of the protesters, local residents, our staff and operatives is our absolute priority. The felling of the tree has been carried out with the cooperation of the police, who we are in regular contact with. We reviewed the situation with the security contractor on site, alongside the police.”
The tree was finally felled on Tuesday after the remaining ‘tree protector’, Bradley, came down from the tree over the weekend.
Protesters had inhabited the tree to prevent its felling since 22 February.
Green party candidate in the 2019 General Election, Glyn Goodwin, tweeted: “Day 25. RIP. Too precious to save.”
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter