- The clearing of the Mormont hill near Eclépens and La Sarraz in Vaud has been in progress since early this morning.
- Around 100 police officers are now about to storm the protest camp. The emergency services use chainsaws to remove wooden structures that are blocking access.
- The environmental activists reciprocate with stones and smoke bombs. The first activists were carried away by the police.
- The activists have been occupying the hill since October. They want to protect the ecosystem from «destruction by the cement company Holcim».
The police arrived shortly after 6 a.m. with a large number. Barricades, diversions and search points have been set up at the village entrances to Eclépens (VD) and La Sarraz (VD) to limit access.
Current images show police officers clearing barricades and carrying activists away. The protesters themselves lit fire in the heart of their camp. Several have sought refuge in huts in the forest and thrown stones at the emergency services.
The protest camp is occupied by around 150 people. About 50 of them were already carried away on the way to the hill. The police had previously stood at the entrance to the camp for over an hour without intervening.
Protest against the expansion of a quarry
Holcim operates a quarry on the Mormont and wants to expand it. However, the company must first wait for a federal court decision. Holcim has been mining stone on the Mormont since 1953 and operates a cement factory on site.
Last July, non-governmental organizations filed an appeal against the cement company’s expansion plans with the federal court. The canton has already approved the expansion.
This is what SRF correspondent Barbara Colpi says in Lausanne:
The main reason why the environmental activists are resisting the expansion of the quarry is that there is a nature reserve right next door. For its part, Holcim takes the position that the environment is primarily better if the limestone is mined locally for concrete production.
On the question of expanding the quarry, despite the clearance, the last word has not yet been spoken: A federal court ruling is still pending on a lawsuit filed by environmental associations. In addition, the issue has meanwhile also called on politicians: A motion is pending in the Cantonal Council of Vaud, and more than a hundred municipal and cantonal politicians wrote an open letter to the cantonal government to prevent the expansion Tomorrow the excavators will be deployed to expand the quarry.
Both Holcim and La Sarraz Municipality took legal action to evict the activists. They tried to appeal but unsuccessfully, which paved the way for their eviction on March 30th.
Tree huts and hammocks
That is why the activists had called in the past few days that as many people as possible join them. To make the work of the police more difficult, they also erected barricades and tree huts and hung hammocks in the trees.
Support for the activists had multiplied in the last few days. More than 1,000 people demonstrated for the cause on Friday in Lausanne.
Politicians have also mobilized: a motion was submitted to the Grand Council. In addition, an open letter signed by almost 130 elected officials was sent to the Vaudois government.