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Osterholz Forest Wuppertal: Police threaten forest walkers with pepper spray

Wuppertal, German territory. Yesterday (August 20) a police operation took place in the Osterholz forest. According to statements by various journalists and the Westdeutsche Zeitung (WZ), the police claimed that this operation took place because “objects such as bars, chains, wood and pallets were transported into the forest” (quote WZ). The WZ also writes that the “alarmed police” met five people on the spot who were sent off. This police depiction is not correct. The police operation lasted about five hours. The five people who were sent off did not arrive in the forest until several hours after the police had started the operation and therefore could not have been the reason for the operation. Nor did the five people have any objects such as poles, wood, pallets or chains with them. Nothing was confiscated by the police when the five people were sent off.

Originally published by Osterholz Bleibt. Translated by Enough 14.

Our information is that the police came to the occupied trees with six officers and intimidated one of the activists of the action group “jeder Baum Zählt” (Every tree counts). Walkers in the forest observed a police dog without a muzzle walking around the occupied part of the forest. When some “Osterholz Bleibt” activists arrived to follow what was happening in the forest, a walker reported:

A policeman present told her, “You can’t come in here today”. When she asked for the reason, the policeman replied: “Because the police say so”. He took a container of pepper spray, held it in front of her face and added, “We understand each other, don’t we? Some local residents also reported that they were threatened with pepper spray by a policeman while walking in the forest. Other walkers reported that they were also sent off.

Yesterday’s action was not the first time police were deployed in the forest. On Sunday there was also a police operation in the occupied part of the forest. Some activists of “Osterholz Bleibt” visited the occupied part on Sunday and were witnesses of this first police operation. In contrast to yesterday, the participating police officers were cool-headed on Sunday and tried to de-escalate. These police officers also saw the pallets and the wood that had already been lying in the occupied part of the forest on Sunday. They also looked at the pallets and decided to leave them there.

We strongly condemn yesterday’s threats of violence against forest walkers and the intimidation of forest squatters by the police. We appeal to the Wuppertal police authorities and the city of Wuppertal not to let the situation in the Osterholz forest escalate.

On Thursday, August 22, the CDU, the party of the managing director of the company Oetelshofen, Moritz Iseke, invites to visit the Osterholz forest. Moritz Iseke is chairman of the CDU parliamentary group in the Vohwinkel district council and also sits in the environmental committee for the CDU. The on-site meeting starts at 16:30 (04:30pm) at the Hermgesberg/Schöllerweg hiking car park (south of the Wuppertal district of Schöller). In the past, there have always been local politicians who have pointed out the importance of lime mining in relation to the planned logging in the Osterholz forest by the Oetelshofen company. We would like to point out explicitly that the planned logging is not directly about lime quarrying. The Oetelshofen company would like to deforest the Osterholz forest in order to store its waste on a so-called spoil heap.

Osterholz Bleibt Initiative, August 21, 2019.


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