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Defending the Bialowieza Forest

Jacek Kusz | Bialowieza Forest, Poland

Blockade of transport of timber cut inside the area protected by Unesco. Estera Mrówka is crying, provoked by a member of the State Forests administration who claimed she was being paid – that all of the environmental activists blockade for money.

Protests against logging activities in the Bialowieza Forest World heritage site, one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. In 2017 large scale cutting by mechanical harvesters began under the pretext of fighting the bark beetle gradations, all against Polish and EU law and without taking into account the opinion of scientists from around the world.

The protests attracted the attention of the European Commission and in July 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union called for the immediate suspension of work. The Polish government have not complied with the order, which had not happened before in the history of the EU. The logging went on, this time under the pretext of “public and fire safety” and entry to the forest was forbidden to enable it`s exploitation without witnesses. Many people from around the world came to protest and block with their own bodies the heavy equipment collecting timber. The State Forest “corporation” brought the Forest Guard army.

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