The police in Hesse have started a large-scale operation to clear clearing work for the controversial expansion of the Autobahn 49. Officials are advancing into the Herrenwald near Stadtallendorf east of Marburg. They are talking to the activists protesting there, said a police spokesman for the AFP news agency.

Even today "the first felling work should begin".

According to the police spokesman, the area is currently being cordoned off, and work will then begin on clearing the forest near the Dannenröder forest.

Only "few" activists would have left the forest voluntarily and without further police action by the 10 am deadline set by the police.

All others would have their personal details recorded, police said.

At the same time, she urged the activists not to run after the construction machines.

That is "life threatening".

According to the police, around 40 activists have set up in tree houses and erected barricades to protest against the clearing.

The activists said they were "horrified and shocked" that construction projects like the A49 would be pushed through in times of advancing climate change.

"We're not leaving here, all the forests remain."

The police are expecting weeks of large-scale operations and massive resistance. 

A49 is to lead through Dannröder Forest in the future

After completion, the A49 will connect Kassel and Gießen with one another.

Because it is to lead through the forest area around the Dannenröder forest near Homberg / Ohm, trees are to be felled there and in the Herrenwald.

Proponents of the expansion hope that there will be less traffic noise in the surrounding villages, shorter distances for commuters and more direct links to the road network for companies.

Environmental and climate protectors consider the project to be outdated because it opposes a traffic turnaround.

That is why they have been protesting in the DannenröderForst for a year.

According to the police, there are currently around 150 activists in the forest. Due to the size of the area, the deployment has a larger dimension than around the Hambach Forest in North Rhine-Westphalia.

According to the Vogelsberg district, the actual construction of the motorway should begin on September 1, 2021.

In preparation for this, around 27 hectares of forest are to be cleared between October 2020 and February 2021.

In the past week, the district banned the further use of tree houses in the forest.

The activists should vacate the area by Wednesday.

The environmentalists announced further resistance.