During half term holiday we went over to Barton Moss, Manchester to join the protest against fracking. At the moment IGas is over halfway through exploratory drilling for gas.
We joined about forty protesters at the entrance to Barton Moss Road when the drilling trucks arrived. Protesters blocked the entrance to the road that leads to the drilling site. A large contingent of police (about 60) surrounded us and started to push us down the road.
For the first five minutes we moved very slowly down the road towards the drilling site. Then the police started pushing more aggressively and moving us quite quickly down the road towards the site. Numerous protesters were warned for leaning back into the police line when they were being pushed forcefully by the police along the road.
The whole time we were being photographed and filmed from umpteen different angles by a squad of police officers.
Police protect trucks
Arriving at the entrance to the drilling site a dozen officers were guarding the gates. The police then proceeded to kettle us while the convoy of drilling trucks entered the site, to calls of ‘shame’ by the protesters. Once the drilling trucks were safely inside their heavily fortified compound the police disappeared.
We spoke to several people who are part of the anti-fracking camp which is close to the drilling site. They told us about numerous arrests of protesters which have been dismissed by the crown prosecution service due to lack of evidence.
We also spoke to several local residents, like Paul, who said that he admired the people who had come from all over the country to protest against the poisoning of his children. He told me that local residents are divided about the fracking, many believing that nothing can be done to stop it. He expressed his fear that the drilling site, which is close to population centres in every direction, would leave a poisoned wasteland behind.
The owners of the drilling site (Peel Holdings) have taken legal action to evict the protest camp. On 6 March a court will rule if protesters have to dismantle it.
The labour movement must oppose this toxic time bomb that threatens to engulf parts of Britain over the next few years.