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Channel Tunnel Protesters March Through London

February 26, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ More than 10,000 demonstrators marched through central London on Sunday to protest British Rail’s proposed high-speed rail routes linking London with the Channel Tunnel, organizers and police said.

Residents representing almost every southeast England town and village that could be affected by the project joined the mass protest, the first demonstration against all four of British Rail’s proposed routes.

″This march is unique because it is not political,″ said Kay Lyons, spokeswoman for the Channel Action Residents Group Executive which organized the march. ″We are of all colors. Mrs. Thatcher has got to listen to us.″

People who live near the proposed routes say the rail link will hurt the environment, be a noisy eyesore and lower property values.

A jazz band led the three-mile parade to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s 10 Downing St. residence, where organizers left a protest scroll, a tape recording of children singing a protest song and a bunch of flowers which they said represented the environment that could be harmed.

″We don’t want it, no one wants it,″ chanted one group.

Scotland Yard said the march was peaceful.

Although the individual groups oppose the four rail links for a variety of reasons, they all want more consultations and more consideration of the environmental impact before British Rail selects a route.

British Rail is expected to announce in early March which route it prefers for the trains, which will run at up to 180 mph.

The trains will link up with the Channel Tunnel, the 34-mile tunnel being bored under the English Channel simultaneously from England and France. It is expected to be completed in 1993.

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