US: Radical environmentalists have vandalised or wrecked hundreds of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) at car dealerships or in the streets in California over the past few days, causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
The attacks on the popular four-wheel-drive cars, targeted because of the pollution they cause, were apparently carried out by supporters of the Earth Liberation Front, a loose network on the radical wing of the environmental movement. Many of the wrecked vehicles were spraypainted with the groups's initials, ELF. The latest attacks took place in California's San Gabriel Valley in the early hours of Friday. Four car dealerships were attacked and many cars were vandalised. One Chevrolet dealership in West Covina was set ablaze. A particular target was the Hummer, a civilian variation on the military Humvee. The ELF, which became active in the US in the late 90s, has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to SUV dealerships over the past few years. The FBI have had limited success in tracking down the perpetrators, not least because ELF does not have a membership structure and its supporters are encouraged to carry out freelance attacks. The SUV has become a symbol of pollution and over-consumption in the past few years because it only gets between 10 and 12 miles to the gallon and causes more than five times as much pollution as an ordinary car. The vehicles are also unpopular because their size blocks the view of the road for other drivers. The ELF press office said yesterday that it had received no communications about the attacks from those responsible but added that they all appeared to have been claimed by ELF supporters, via the use of spraypainted tags. Hummer owners belonging to the national Hummer Club held rallies at the weekend to protest against the attacks. At one rally, the ELF was likened to al-Qaeda as Hummer owners pledged to "fight terrorism at home and abroad". - (Guardian Service) Duncan Campbell © The Irish Times
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