Fracking campaigners are not “domestic extremists” – Nicola Sturgeon

180920 Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, 20 September 2018. Photo: SPTV

The Scottish First Minister said anti-fracking campaigners should not be considered domestic extremists, despite reports that they’d been labelled so by Police Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I do not consider that people who protest against nuclear weapons, or fracking, or anything else in a peaceful democratic way to be extremists in any sense and I would not expect anyone to consider them to be extremists.”

She defended the right to protest:

“People should have the right to protest as long as they do so peacefully.

“It applies to people campaigning and protesting against fracking or any other issue.”

180920 Patrick Harvie

Scottish Greens co-convenor, Patrick Harvey, 20 September 2018. Photo: SPTV

The issue was raised at First Minister’s Questions this morning by the Scottish Green co-convenor, Patrick Harvie. He told MSPs:

“We have known for years that environmental campaigners, along with peace activists and others, have in the past been spied on or infiltrated by police forces in the UK including in Scotland. But this statement of current practice is shocking.

“Anti fracking campaigners who exercise their democratic right to protest are heroes yet Police Scotland is labelling them as domestic extremists.”

Scottish Parliament 170531 Friends of the Earth Scotland

Opponents of fracking calling for a ban, 31 May 2017. Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland

The issue was first reported earlier this month by SpinWatch. It said the Police Scotland annual report for 2017-2018 had labelled anti-fracking campaigners and hunt saboteurs as “domestic extremists”. The force said it would:

“continue to closely monitor individuals and groups that are involved/suspected to be involved in the DE [domestic extremism] arena and explore all opportunities to disrupt and detect their activities”.

In the Falkirk region, which houses the Ineos Grangemouth petrochemicals plant, the Local Police Plan 2017-20 described anti-fracking protest as a potential threat in its discussion of ‘counter-terrorism’ risk. It also listed an objective of intelligence gathering:

“Seeking the support of communities to develop the national intelligence picture around terrorism, domestic extremism and potential protests around fracking, shale oil and gas extraction given the nature of our commercial business infrastructure located in the Grangemouth area.”

Mr Harvie dismissed suggestions that this was merely an operational matter for Police Scotland. He said the category “domestic extremist” was also applied to racist and fascist forces in society. He added:

 “This strikes at the heart of the relationship between policing and the public and that is clearly a political question.”

Ms Sturgeon said she would ask the Chief Constable of Police Scotland to address the issue.

13 replies »

  1. Number 1: Fracking company extremist – Jim Ratcliffe. Number 1: Fracking Lobby extremist – Ken Cronin. Number 1: Security Extremist -Raymond Fellows. Number 1: Conservative Party extremist -Claire Perry. As this is an extreme sort of energy I would hope my comment is not censored!

  2. Yeah, I find it literally unbelievable that people who are legitimately concerned about the health and welfare of humanity and our precious environment and our water be demonised in this way. I will like many others never accept this label as it is totally unjustifiable. I hope Ms Sturgon does follow this up with the chief constable and get this shameful label dropped.

  3. Perhaps these twerps should have spoken to the police FIRST as to the reasons and evidence. Then there would have been a valid debate rather than the virtue signalling that is now so overdone it has lost all credibility.

    • As per usual an MC post reads like it’s straight from the Alt-right handbook.

      You are Steve Bannon and I claim my five pounds!

      • You appear to have declined to answer my question Martin. Strange really, as you responded to another post.
        The questions for the police that you alluded to have been asked, but they too decline to answer.
        Back to the thrust of the article, it’s interesting to me that when environmental campaigners are declared to be ‘domestic extremists’ by some individual or committee high enough in the food chain, that permits a hugely expensive array of resources to be aligned again those campaigners, by both police and security services. Whoever it was that made that decision about non violent, peaceful protesters presumably weighed up a cost benefit analysis very carefully, as those expensive, specialised and increasingly scarce resources will then be removed from frontline policing and national security issues involving crime of every description and severity.
        Along with many others, I would like to have the valid debate that you suggest, but until we know the reasoning and evidence for that person making such a decision, it’s not possible is it? As long as access to this reasoning and evidence is refused on the grounds of confidentiality or national security, we’ll never be able to have a valid debate, or even decide whether the decision to divert costly resources from truly extreme and violent groups can be justified – other than on purely political grounds.

  4. No, crembrule, I believe in true news, not fake news. My true news means you check the facts before you make a statement. Fake news, there is no need to bother, because the message is not aimed at the facts.

    Interesting that confuses you, but we already knew that. I am surprised though that it is all about the money for you. Could plonk it into AJL.

    • S’funny how you constantly attack other’s integrity with empty rhetoric, no clear argument or supporting evidence? Anyone would think you did not know what you are talking about……

    • Ahhh a positively Trumpian reply! Well done Martin your post completely reaffirms my ( and many others on DoD) opinion of you, which I have come to by reading your constant Ill informed, fact free and judgemental diatribes on this site.

  5. More pavlova than crembrule!

    Fact free? Really. Managed to find the reference yet from your “local” paper? You seem to have difficulty accessing facts from any source.

    Could you please present us with the structure, methodology, independence and results of your market research so we know it is informed, factual and balanced? Otherwise we might think it is just an individual trying to magnify his/her credibility.

    If you find my posts so difficult to digest why keep reading them? If you find them too addictive for that, then you could always try posting something valuable yourself to counter. Two suggestions for the price of one.

  6. Shame you decided not to follow my advice Sherwulfe, but I’m sure it released some sort of inner demon. Is that all you utilise DOD for?Seems so.

    Invested in a TV now? If so, perhaps you might benefit by watching something a bit more educational.

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