In this week’s update on protests about fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry
- Police drag 85-year-old woman across road at Lancashire fracking protest;
- Police require 79-year-old tea lady to move from verge outside Third Energy’s site;
- Protester removed from second observation tower at Kirby Misperton;
- More arrests and lock-ons.
15 October 2017
Tower lock-on at Kirby Misperton
Kirby Misperton Protection Camp reported a prefabricated observation tower was installed at about 8pm on the verge near the entrance of Third Energy’s fracking site in the North Yorkshire village.
Two people were already inside the tower and locked themselves together. In a statement issued this evening, one of them said:
“I want to send a message that what Third Energy is doing is wrong, fracking is wrong, poisoning our water is wrong. So I’m here to protect my right to a safe environment and a safe earth.”
The other person, who has a PhD in environmental sustainable waste management, said:
”What I’m shocked about is that the Environment Agency and other agencies can see there are dire environmental consequences, but they aren’t doing anything. This protest is being driven by the local communities, and everyone is starting to take notice. Fracking is irresponsible and has proven consequences for land, communities, air and water.”
This is the third observation tower installed at the site. Superintendent Alisdair Dey, of North Yorkshire Police, said:
“Once again, emergency services resources will have to be deployed to deal with this tower in the road – so the actions of a minority of protestors will cause significant disruption. When the balance tips from peaceful protest to unreasonable acts then we have to take action.”
A specialist police team is on site assessing the situation. Habton Road remains open to through traffic at this time.
The two campaigners were removed at about 6.30pm on 16 October 2017. See DrillOrDrop’s Protest Update: 16-22 October 2017 for more details
14 October 2017
Actions on fracking and climate change
Anti-fracking campaigners across the country took part in events as part of the Global Frackdown, initiated by Food & Water Watch, and the Friends of the Earth International Day of Action on Climate Change.
Pickering War Weekend
Members of Frack Free Pickering and Frack Free Ryedale took part in the annual Pickering War Weekend. Frack Free Ryedale said in a statement:
“We shall fight the frackers in the planning committees, we shall fight them in the courts, we shall fight in the summer and in the winter, we shall fight in the fields; we shall never surrender!”
13 October 2017
Lock-on protest, Cuadrilla’s shale gas site, Preston New Road, nr Blackpool
Two anti-fracking campaigners locked themselves together outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road just before 7am. They said they wanted to draw attention to protest policing in Lancashire and North Yorkshire.
Earlier in the week police had dragged 85-year-old Anne Power across Preston New Road. And in North Yorkshire, police surrounded Jackie Brookes, 79, moving her and her tea table outside the Third Energy shale gas site (see 9 October 2017).
Police said two people were arrested following the protest.
12 October 2017
Slow walk at Kirby Misperton
North Yorkshire Police said the force allowed three protesters to walk in front of a delivery lorry to Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton fracking site for 20 minutes.
Superintendent Lindsey Robson said in a statement:
“We will continue to take a neighbourhood policing approach to protests – that means we’ll talk to people, explain what is acceptable in terms of safety and reasonableness, and ask them to work with us to make this a safe and peaceful protest.”
11 October 2017
Six arrests at Kirby Misperton
North Yorkshire Police said six people were arrested outside Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton.
Anti-fracking campaigners described how one woman was arrested after police said she was being investigated for a crime and asked for her details. She was repairing a wheel on her pram at the time.
Two 40-year-old women locked themselves together early on 11 October in Habton Road, the lorry route to the Third Energy site at Kirby Misperton. Police said they were cut free at about 9.15am and arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway.
North Yorkshire Police said a 49-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting and obstructing a police officer.
A police statement also said officers seized what they described as “a suspected bullet” from a 54-year-old man. He was arrested on suspicion of possessing ammunition for a firearm. A statement on 16 October 2017 said a 54-year-old man had accepted a caution for possessing ammunition without a firearms certificate. The bullet was examined and found to be live ammunition, the statement said.
Two women, one aged 29 and one aged 38 were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer. The 29-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway.
A police spokesperson said officers facilitated two 20-minute slow walks on Habton Road at 1.10pm and 3.15pm.
Labour Day at Kirby Misperton
Thirsk and Malton Labour group reported more than 100 people gathered outside Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton for a rally.
David Yellen, chair of the Thirsk and Malton Constituency Party, promised support for anti-fracking campaigners who have protested at the site entrance since North Yorkshire County Council signed off conditions on Third Energy’s planning permission last month.
Mr Yellen said:
“The gas must stay in the ground”.
10 October 2017
Third Energy’s workover rig arrives
Villagers in Kirby Misperton watched – some in tears – as a workover rig inched between cars parked on narrow streets on its way to Third Energy’s fracking site this morning. More details
9 October 2017
Police drag 85-year-old woman across road from shale gas site
Police outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool, dragged an 85-year-old woman across a busy road by her shoulders and without supporting her legs.
Anne Power, a frequent protester outside the site at Preston New Road, said she was “livid”. The incidents happened when protesters sat down in front of the site gate after a vehicle entered with site without warning, hitting one man in the chest. More details
Writing afterwards in the New Statesman, Ms Power said:
“When I was a child, I saw police officers as friendly faces. I was taught they were to be respected and trusted. So it is with great sadness I say today that the only violence I have seen at the Preston New Road site has come from the police and security services – with aggression escalating week after week.
“Friends who protest alongside me have been pinned to the ground by their neck, pushed against vehicles and frequently manhandled. It’s frightening. And it undermines the role of the police: to protect the public.”
“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to be angry.
“They might have tried to bully me away, but they’ve just made me even more determined to end fracking for good. I’ll be there next Monday. I hope to see you there too.”
Police move Kirby Misperton tea lady from Third Energy fracking site
79-year-old Jackie Brookes made headlines when police moved her and her stall where she had been serving tea from the side of the road to anti-fracking campaigners protesting about Third Energy’s fracking plans.
After the incident, she told Minster FM:
“The young man, policeman on my right, he was quite gentle, a bit irritating, because he kept saying ‘will you move?’, and I kept saying ‘no’. ‘Will you move?’, ‘No’. ‘Will you move?’ ‘I’m not moving’. That’s how it went.
“The man on my left, he kept taking hold of my arm, he wasn’t rough, he didn’t squeeze my arm or anything, I just told him to let me go. Take your hands off me.
“Then the other police came in and they started moving everything away and then I was marched across from the gateway to the other side.”
Asked whether she was threatened with arrest, she said:
“When the first policeman came up to me, before I was kettled, they said they wanted me to move and I said ‘I’m not moving’ and he said ‘I’m just warning you, you could be arrested’. I said ‘I’m not moving’. I thought, if I’m arrested, I’m arrested.
“It didn’t happen. They just walked me over there. Some of the ladies sat me down in a chair. They were very worried about me but I was just fine. I wasn’t upset.
“I think they’re on the wrong side. I’ve always been led to be believe that we should respect the police. That’s the way I was brought up. That they were here to defend the public to protect our rights, our freedom of speech and our freedom of peaceful protest.
“But it’s not working out that way. They’ve become corporate police. They’re defending Third Energy not us.”
Campaigner removed from second tower outside Kirby Misperton fracking site
Police removed anti-fracking protester, Eddie Thornton, from an observation tower outside Third Energy’s fracking site. More details His protest coincided with a visit by MEP Keith Taylor and the police decision to move Jackie Brookes and her tea table from the grass verge outside the site at Kirby Misperton. (see above). Mr Thornton was arrested on suspicion of causing a danger to road users and obstructing a police officer.