Updated: Pictures and messages from United Against Fracking rally


Organisers estimated up to 2,000 anti-fracking campaigners marched through Manchester today as part of the United Against Fracking demonstration. Police estimated the numbers at about 1,000.

Campaigners from across the UK gathered in Piccadilly Gardens before marching through the city centre to Castlefield Bowl for a rally with speeches.

DrillOrDrop followed the event and reports on the key messages from speakers.

Speeches end and music starts from DJ Dave Haslem


Dan Evans, campaigner against fracking in Sussex, Salford and Lancashire


“The time has come to build our democracy for the people, for a positive relationship with our planet, that says no to fracking and any other industry that threatens people’s health. The time has come to find that power.”

John Ashton, former special adviser on climate change to the Foreign Office


“In England, fracking is dead in the water because we are going to stop it.

“Our enemies fight with money. We fight with love. Our enemies fight with lies. We fight with the truth.

“Our enemies fight from gated palaces separate from the people. We are the people and you cannot defeat the people.

“We need to stay united against fracking. Roseacre can win. Preston New Road can win but only if we stay together.

Mr Ashton said Andy Burnham had promised if he became mayor of Greater Manchester that there would be a proper memorial to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000 which had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation. Mr Ashton told the crowd:

“That will be our memorial because we stand up because we care and because we don’t want injustice and tyranny.”

Video message from Emma Thompson

“We fight for a frack free future for our children and ourselves. I wish I was there with you today. All power to your elbows.”

2.35pm Tina Rothery


“We are in a unique position. Fracking is not happening in the UK. We are not stopping it. We are not letting it happen. Once it starts they have the law on their sides.”

The crowd heard that Ms Rothery had been ordered to appear in court in Preston at 11am on Friday 9 December charged with contempt of court. The case arises from a long-running dispute over legal costs with the shale gas company, Cuadrilla.

Ms Rothery faces two weeks in prison after refusing to disclose financial information to the court. Cuadrilla had been awarded costs amounting to more than £50,000 after Ms Rothery asked for an adjournment of an eviction hearing. If the sentence is imposed, she will be the first woman to be sent to prison in case related to the campaign against fracking..

David Smythe, emeritus professor of geophysics, University of Glasgow


David Smythe said the US shale gas industry was $200bn in debt. Extracting shale gas in the UK would be two-three times more expensive than it was in the US. He told the crowd:

“My message to you is to keep up the pressure by all legal means at the local level because I think within a year the investors in Cuadrilla, Third Energy, INEOS and IGas will pull the plug.

“No investors will come forward to put money in something that is not financially viable.

“We just have to hang in there.”

David Smythe said Glasgow University had not responded by last night’s deadline to his crowd-funded legal challenge over the withdrawal of his academic email and journal access. He said he had been told he had a very strong case. He said: “We shall win”.

He also revealed that the play Fracked! Or don’t mention the F-word, staring James Bolan and Anne Reid, which staged at Chichester to sell-out audiences in the summer is to go on tour and to the West End.

Rt Rev Graham Cray, Kirby Misperton, Ryedale


“The planet is a gift not a possession to use as we wish.

“Fracking is not for the common good. It has no social licence. It is imposed on unwilling communities democracy will be undermined.

The fact that we can extract shale gas is not a moral reason to do it.”

Gina Dowding, Lancashire County Council


“We have been betrayed by our government.

“Whoever is in the White House or in Number 10, we need to make sure they do not hoodwink us into believing that fracking is the future of our energy policy.

“Our leaders need to respect the science of climate change. The science is not negotiable. We must respect the facts and build a green future because our lives depend on it”.

Penny Cole, The Broad Alliance, Scotland


“The reason we have a moratorium in Scotland is because of the way the community came together and forced the government to face facts”

Julie Wassmer, East Kent Against Fracking


“When is democracy, not democracy? When the government is interfering in local decisions.

“When is fracking not fracking? When the government chooses to redefine it in the Infrastructure Act. What a total insult to the intelligence of people in this country that our government thinks that if they don’t mention the F-word we won’t worry about it.

“We say to our government: ‘Listen to the many, not the money’.

“Say no to fracking in Lancashire and elsewhere because the day we stop doing that is the day we say yes.”

Bianca Jagger, Founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation


“I am here as a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. I believe fracking is a threat to our way of life, to our water supplies, to the air we breathe and to the environment.

“It is time for the government of the UK to stop its incestuous relationship with the oil and gas industry. Fracking is not the panacea they have told us it is.

Theresa May must understand that the people of this country are serious, that they mean what they say when they come out for a rally like this.

“You are not alone. I am with you and there are millions of people who support your struggle. We will defeat fracking.”

Morgan Marshall, 13, playing Do you hear the people sing? with specially-adapted lyrics


Andy Burnham, Labour MP for Leigh and Labour candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester


“I was surprised to see that there were exploration licences in Leigh. I looked into fracking and realised that I could not support it because of the risk to your geology and our green spaces.

“If I cannot support fracking in Leigh, I cannot support it in Greater Manchester and I cannot support it anywhere.

“What worries me is that the government has taken powers to impose it on local people. They have taken the say of local people and I will stand against it if I am elected mayor of Greater Manchester.

“If fracking is not good enough for New York, it is not good enough for Greater Manchester.

“The case for fracking has not been made. It belongs in the past, not the future.”

Sue Gough, Frack Free Ryedale


“We have been fighting this for two and a half years. In all that time we have prevented fracking from happening. I would think Third Energy expected to be drilling by now.

For the 4,000 people who commented on Third Energy’s plans [to frack in Ryedale], only about 30 were in favour and not one of them lived in or near Kirby Misperton. This demonstrates there is not social licence for fracking.

“Everyone can do something. Everyone can contribute to this campaign. The important thing is to do something. Don’t just sit by and let this happen.”

Claire Stephenson, Preston New Road Action Group, Lancashire


“We have been dismissed as unimportant. We have been described as receptors.

“They picked a fight with the wrong people. Our children matter. Our vulnerable and elderly residents matter.

“We will not give up. We will take this to the highest level.”

Barbara Richardson, Roseacre Awareness Group, Lancashire


After the decision by the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, to reopen the inquiry into Cuadrilla’s application to frack at Roseacre Wood, Mrs Richardson said:

“This is no longer just about fracking and the harm it brings to communities, our environment and climate change. This is now about local people having a say in their own future. This is about the people. To quote Theresa May “we will look after the interests of the ordinary working people not the rich and powerful. False words indeed. They only mean it when it suits them.

“People feel so strongly. Ordinary men and women like me, who has never done anything like this before but, we have been forced to action.

“There are many of us put lives in hold and sacrificed so much. Do not underestimate what this costs in money and time and effort.

“We have to be strong and resolute. We will only stop this by working together  and showing the oil and gas industry and our complicit government that we will not be bullied. We will not shut up and go away.

“This is about us the people. We do matter. Never have I seen such strong feeling amongst communities from right across the UK…… no the world.”

Crowds gather at Castlefield Bowl, Manchester



12 noon
March leaves Piccadilly Gardens




Speeches begin in Piccadilly Gardens

The crowd hears from Kevin Blowe, of Netpol, which is contributing to a new research project on policing of anti-fracking protests.


The Green Party candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, Deyika Nzeribe (above), called on the anti-fracking movement to give the shale gas industry “the scrutiny it deserved”.

John Hodson, speaking for David McCoy, of the health charity Medact, said the biggest threat to health from shale gas extraction was its contribution to climate change. The crowd also heard from Stephen Garsted, Conor Dwyer of Friends of the Earth and the Climate Jobs initiative.

louise-somerville-williamsLouise Somerville Williams, of Frack Free Somerset, (above) told the crowd:

“People have said no to this industry. We can win. We will win. This is what democracy looks like”.



11am Crowds gathering in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester




98 replies »

  1. All that for a measly gathering of 1,000 people? Of course the organizers estimated 100% more – so unlike an anti-fracking group to hype a story, right?

    And you have to love one of the quotes above: “Our enemies fight with lies. We fight with the truth.” LOL. Suuuuuuuure thing! Just look at all the lies told by the anti-frack mafia and their “peer reviewed” junk science.

    Ruth, with you wasting so much time on stories like this, I’m sure that you’re getting ready to ask me for some pics of my cat for your next anti-frack story. Am I right?

      • Are you capable of having a discussion about the facts behind the studies you proffer as proof that the industry is damaging health, Phil? Why do you deflect the issue, now that I have shown you how your studies are flawed, and try to attack me personally? It’s because you know you’ve been beaten, right? If not, then let’s go back to the facts. Tell me specifically where I’m wrong, Phil.

        • No Peeny, we’ve been through all that – through miles of facts and reports that you simply have your slippery way of denying or dodging. It’s just easier now just to flag you as somebody not to take seriously – in case some newcomer to the site might possibly think you were saying anything credible.

          • Spot on Philip – But so be aware (s)he has several other IDs including Jim Georges, Brad Welsh, Bard Welsh etc to use when this one gets too stale. It’s sockpuppet city for the pro-frackers.

          • Yes, Phil, you are correct. It is much simpler to just ignore someone when they offer facts to counteract the junk science you put forth. When you put your head deep in a hole, it is difficult to see how ignorant you look! ;o)

            • Trouble is Peeny that you ran out of feet to shoot yourself in a while back. Still, you keep trying. Anyone can see the trail of absurdities, evasions and denials that you’ve already left on this site

    • hball – just wondering, is your cat called ‘waffle’? It’s just that over here we often call our pets by a name that reminds us of ourselves.

    • LOL at you squinnying about the numbers. Have you got any idea how hard it is to get beat down English sheep out onto the streets lol 2000 is a virtual tsunami of Poms. One of the main reasons why fracking is banned in all of the countries around us is because the governments know in places like France that the people just won’t have it. The main reason why the Tories are just imposing it on English folk is because they know that most will just roll over like yourself.

      Still, we’ll see how many get off their backsides once the drilling starts. It won’t take that many to make the gig totally expense ridden and pointless.

      Respect to the fighters and deep shame on the quislings like yourself

      • Yes, we see hundreds of millions protesting fracking here in the US where fracking has been taking place for 50 years. Oh, no, I’m wrong. We just see a few zealots every once in a while, but they’ve been completely marginalized and proven wrong time and again.

        As the world has shown in the Brexit vote and Trump vote, we are tired of your narrow minded elitist liberal causes that have little or no basis in fact. You lost. Get over it.

        • Brexit hasn’t happened yet and there’s an increasingly good chance that it won’t. You can keep Nigel Farage by the way.

          • The vote has happened yes, on the basis of false promises by the Brexiteers and lack of homework by the government – all now being exposed .. Oh yes, that reminds me of something … ‘fracking’.

              • Yes, I still don’t know what Liberal Elite means except as a pejorative term used by the alt right and other narcissists to apply to anyone with an education and an open mind. Die hard GOP conservatives and cronies, and even the alt right appear to think that wealth and security can only come from the fossil fuel industries, guns and casinos – that is ‘the system’ they understand. If you’ve been successful or made money outside of that system they think you must be cheating.

        • LOL gloating that your moron nation got trolled by a joke of a human being. The rest of the World is pointing and laughing chump.

          Have fun cleaning up the mess as your land of the “free” skulks off into it’s pariah state corner

            • You must have missed the laughing bit then, or perhaps you struggle with reading.

              The rest of the World has a table at the restaurant at the end of the American Universe where we can watch you tear yourselves apart over the coming years.

              The other good news is that it may keep you dangerous morons away from screwing up the rest of the World

        • …and the reason that you’ve not seen mass protests against fracking in the USA is the exact same reason that you elected the moron Trump. You’re a nation of morons.

          Wherever fracking has been attempted and the populace aren’t morons it’s been heavily protested and flung out such as Bulgaria & Romania and in places with an intelligent, engaged populace such as Germany and France it’s not even been attempted.

          One of the reasons why fracking was never going to happen in the British Isles. We just aint that dumb. [edited by moderator]

          Peace 🙂

          • I see you are one to generalize populations, Francis! And yet you criticize the election of Trump? Fairly hypocritical of you, but I’m guessing you will not understand the point.

            So, you are arguing that buying fracked gas from the US, liquifying it, transporting it thousands of miles via ship, regassing it, and putting it into your system, all of which makes the gas twice as expensive and 20-30% more environmentally harmful, is the “intelligent choice.” I see. Quite interesting. I’m not sure anyone with such an “intelligent” strategy will survive long in a globally competitive market, but we’ll see, right?

            BTW, how’s that strategy working in terms of carbon reduction? I understand that with all of the malinvestment in wind and solar across Europe, the European continent is producing more GHG than it was before all that investment began. Us “dummies” in the US have led the world in GHG reduction while creating a booming economy that is helped along by strong exports to countries with high energy costs (ie. Europe).

            I just wish we were as smart as you Francis! LOL

            • Who mentioned buying your methane pissing gas? Yeah, you seem to have completely forgotten about the methane that the whole process pisses out in your green house gas reduction nonsense.

              We, as a Planetary civilisation either emergency transition to renewables or we die. I’m not sure what part of that you’re not getting. Even record breaking annual temperature after record breaking annual temperature doesn’t seem to be wising you up any.

              Dumb dumb Yank

              • Francis, relax. Methane is the primary compound in natural gas. And no one forgot about it. Fugitive methane emissions are very small and getting smaller.

                “We, as a Planetary civilisation either emergency transition to renewables or we die. ” You ever read “the boy who cried wolf” Francis?


                • Have you seen the current Arctic temperatures peni?!? Wow!!!

                  And even if 97% of the world’s scientists did happen to be wrong we get second prize, a non polluting, non ecosystem munching democratised energy system.

                  Why are you so against that [edited by moderator] Oh yeah, that’s right…..

                  It’s inevitable anyway, renewables are smashing it out there. You [edited by moderator] just don’t seem to understand basic economics lol

  2. a good day and the speeches contained a lot of interesting information some of it new to me – keep up the good work ruth

  3. Less than 1000. Probably about 700 or 800 people. Disappointing crowd for such a national event. I guess the issues is not as important to many other people as we hope it would be.

    • TW -Crowd counting. How sad are you. You and hball are shining examples for promoting an imaginary UK shale gas industry. Keep up the good work.

    • What? Who are you TW? Were you there? I was and 2,000 is a conservative estimate! Add to the that the supporters along the route, in shops and restaurants applauding loudly as we passed. Get a life!

  4. Where does it say 1000? It said over 2000 in the Manchester Evening News, which I think was a more accurate estimate. But why do those opposed to fracking always try and play down numbers – they do this every time. It is so predictable and unoriginal. Not every person that opposes shale attends a rally or an event as well they know.
    Shall we deal in some hard facts? Support for fracking is at an all time low, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have ban fracking policies in place and there is a moratorium in Scotland and Wales.
    Not once have the supporters of fracking been able to demonstrate greater support – not once.
    How very sad and petty you make yourselves look.

  5. Estimating numbers at these events is very hard. All we can say is it was twice the size of the march we ckaimed had a thousand people and three times the size of the one we said had seven hundred.

    Pro-fracking rallies are much easier. You can count those there individually. Usually on one hand.

    • That’s one things that distinguish the frackers and anti frackers. They have a real job to do and don’t waste times walking on the street with painted face or mask with banners drum and flare yelling out empty rhetoric slogan.

      • That’s funny TW; will let all the lawyers, teachers, doctors, business owners, professional musicians, councilors, nurses, farmers, engineers etc who were there know that their jobs are not real. As for wasting time, we will see.

  6. I’m writing from Balcombe. I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you in Manchester. I’m still trying to recover from a bout of flu. But myself and all of us in Balcombe who are against UOG are in full support. Regardless of the numbers that turn up at such events, public opinion against the shale industry is growing across the UK, as evidenced by opinion polls. The undeniable evidence of the adverse consequences of the shale industry is growing as more and more authoritative reports are published. Just today I read about a new report on climate change that suggests our situation is possibly worse than originally thought. The report states that the targets agreed at the Paris conference may be insufficient to keep to the 2 degree temperature rise target. So we need to more aggressively reduce emissions, otherwise it could literally be game over. This is a fight we simply have to win. The pro frackers rarely address the issues, they simply call us names such as luddites, nimbys and swampies, and these armchair experts simply dismiss the views of credible scientists. Well, I can live with that. But I can’t live with a government and an industry intent on industrialising our countryside and destroying the planet. Love to you all. Malcolm.

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