Mountaineers back protest

The Guardian February 17 1996

BRITISH mountaineers yesterday condemned colleagues employed to help evict the Newbury bypass tree climbers as «shameful» after national officers of the British Mountaineering Council and leading sportsmen described the Newbury protesters as «courageous defenders of the environment».

«If we do not disown and ostracise these mercenaries and renegades we are undermining the very reason for our existence and helping to accelerate the destruction of the very places we hold dear. They have nothing to do with climbing,» author and climber Jim Perrin told the first British Mountain Festival at Llandudno.

«They are not welcome among us.» Some protesters have been living in trees for six months and have built dozens of tree houses and miles of aerial pathways to delay the bypass. They were applauded by delegates.

   -- John Vidal