How did a band of eco-warriors manage to dig tunnel network in central London

Protesters aiming to stop HS2 claim they have built a secret network of tunnels under a London park – which they will stay in until the development is stopped.

An alliance of groups and individuals, called HS2 Rebellion, are campaigning against the planned high-speed railway and say they dug the 100ft tunnels ‘in secret’ over the last few months.

The ‘tree protectors’ claim Euston Square Gardens, a green space outside Euston station, will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers.

The protest group claims protesters are now prepared to occupy the tunnels and stay underground ‘for as long as it takes to stop HS2’.

But how did they manage to do this?

The project, code-named ‘Calvin’, has seen tunnellers using pickaxes, shovels and buckets to dig the complex network.

They say they have worked ‘around the clock’ for months, with the help of local residents.

A video shows some of the eco-warriors in the underground tunnel.

The group says it used spoil from the digging to ‘fortify the barricades’ at the network’s entrance, and insulate the ‘pallet fortress’ to keep tunnellers warm as they sleep between shifts.

The tunnels are reportedly supported by wooden joists and thick boards to prevent collapse.

Protesters say they have stashed food and water inside to give them supplies for potentially weeks underground.

HS2 Rebellion said it expected protesters to be evicted from the site from Wednesday morning.

A statement added: ‘They believe they can hold out in the tunnel for several weeks and hope in this time that a court will rule against HS2 for breaking the law by attempting an eviction without a court order and during the national coronavirus lockdown.’

The group’s actions come after a community notification issued in December revealed an ‘interim’ taxi rank would be built on the east side of Euston Square Gardens to support the construction of a proposed HS2 station.

Construction works are due to begin this month and continue until December.

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said the company could not comment on the specifics of protesters’ activities as it was yet to take possession of the land, but said ‘illegal’ actions could be a danger to people’s safety.

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