HS2 worker filmed kneeling on the neck of a protester

HS2 worker is filmed kneeling on the neck of a protester who was allegedly using a catapult to fire carrots into high-speed rail site

  • Police are investigating after HS2 worker filmed kneeling on neck of a protester
  • Incident happened at high-speed rail site in Fradley, in Staffordshire, on Sunday 
  • Protester arrested on suspicion of assault and possession of offensive weapon
  • MP Michael Fabricant says witnesses told him protester was using a catapult 

A HS2 worker has been filmed kneeling on the neck of a protester who was allegedly catapulting carrots into a work site of the high-speed rail scheme.

Footage shows the worker with his knee on the neck of the hooded man, whose head is pinned against the floor, during the incident at the site in Fradley, Staffordshire.

The pinned-down protester appears to make very little movement during the minute long video, in which a woman can be heard telling the HS2 worker to stop kneeling on the protester’s neck.

Other HS2 workers are also seen standing nearby, with one stopping the woman from getting closer to the incident.

Witnesses claim the protester had earlier been using a catapult to fire carrots into the work site, while police say they were initially called to reports a man was firing pellets at staff. 

Staffordshire Police say the protester has been arrested and that they are investigating the allegations against the HS2 workers.  

A HS2 worker has been filmed kneeling on the neck of a protester who was allegedly catapulting carrots into a work site of the high-speed rail scheme 

Footage shows the worker with his knee on the neck of the hooded man, whose head is pinned against the floor, during the incident at the site in Fradley, Staffordshire 

The pinned-down protester appears to make very little movement during the minute long video, in which a woman can be heard telling the HS2 worker to stop kneeling on the protester’s neck

Local MP Michael Fabricant says he has written to police, ministers and HS2 after ‘several constituents’ reported the alleged ‘excessive use of force’.

He passed on claims the protester was thrown to the ground and kicked by ‘a number’ of HS2 workers before being restrained ‘with a knee on his neck for at least four minutes’.

Bosses at HS2 say its staff have been ‘repeatedly and excessively targeted by political activists’ who have ‘subjected them to violence’.   

Speaking based on what he claimed to be reports from his constituents, Mr Fabricant said: ‘A lone protester had, unwisely, fired some carrots using a catapult over the HS2 fence from the other side of the road.

Local MP Michael Fabricant says he has written to police, ministers and HS2 after ‘several constituents’ reported the alleged ‘excessive use of force’

‘The man was thrown to the ground by a number of HS2 security people, kicked, and held down with a knee on his neck for at least four minutes, someone timed it.

‘During this time a number of passing motorists stopped to protest, but it was not until the police arrived that he was able to get up.

‘My views on HS2 and the destruction of ancient woodlands are well known.

‘Despite my voting against the legislation in Parliament, HS2 was authorised with an overwhelming majority.

‘However, the law does not permit using excessive force by HS2 against protesters.

‘I was not a witness to the event, so I cannot judge whether excessive force was used or, indeed, whether any force was necessary at all. 

‘But several constituents have contacted me about this event and I take their concern seriously.

‘I have, therefore, written to Gareth Morgan, the chief constable of Staffordshire Police, to ask whether there is evidence that HS2 personnel have committed an assault and have also written to Andrew Stephenson MP – the minister at the Department for Transport responsible for HS2 – and the managing director of HS2, Mark Thurston.

‘Lawful protest against HS2 is permitted. Heavy handed tactics by HS2 are not.’  

Police have confirmed they arrested a protester on suspicion of assault and possessing an offensive weapon and are now investigating the allegations against the HS2 workers.

Police have confirmed they arrested a protester on suspicion of assault and possessing an offensive weapon and are now investigating the allegations against the HS2 workers. Pictured: Part of the HS2 site in Denham, Buckinghamshire. The incident took place in Staffordshire

The Government-backed high-speed rail project, which was budgeted at around £60billion but could now cost around £88 billion, is due to connect London with the West Midlands, cutting through Bucks (pictured: Part of the HS2 site in Buckinghamshire) and Oxfordshire

They were called to where the line is being built at Fradley Wood on Sunday, November 15, while workers were clearing a wooded area.   

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: ‘We were called to an incident at around 11.30am on Sunday, November 15 following reports a man had fired pellets at staff working at a site in Fradley.

‘Officers attended the location and a 50-year-old man from Wolverhampton was arrested on suspicion of assault and possessing an offensive weapon.

‘He has since received a conditional caution.

‘Following the incident, we have been made aware of complaints about how the man was restrained by security staff at the location and we are investigating.’  

A HS2 spokesman said: ‘In recent weeks, HS2 has been repeatedly and excessively targeted by political activists who have trespassed on construction sites, endangering themselves, our workers and the general public, subjecting our hard-working employees to violence and anti-social behaviour and placing unnecessary strain on the emergency services during the pandemic.

The HS2 route would initially link London and Birmingham with the second phase of the project then heading north to Manchester and Leeds

HS2 would allow trains to travel at speeds of up to 250mph. That would mean much faster journeys between key UK cities. The graphic shows times for HS2 passengers (in red) verses the current times (in blue)

‘HS2 has been approved by democratically elected MPs on multiple occasions and the project is playing a pivotal role in helping Britain’s economic recovery.

‘There are 13,000 people already working on the project and we recently announced a further 22,000 jobs across the country at a time when it needs them most.’

The Government-backed high-speed rail project, which was budgeted at around £60billion but could now cost around £88 billion, is due to connect London with the West Midlands, cutting through Bucks and Oxfordshire.

Phase 2 is due to then link Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to York and Leeds.

But project has become a major target for eco-activists, who are opposing the damage caused to trees and wildlife by the scheme.

More than 40 designated areas of ancient woodland will be impacted by the development of HS2, according to the BBC.

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