Updated: East Yorkshire drilling protest tops 50 hours

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Third day of lock-on protest outside Rathlin Energy’s West Newton exploration site in East Yorkshire, 11 May 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Updated 13 May 2019

A protest outside an oil and gas exploration site at West Newton, north of Hull, has entered its third day.

Two people locked their arms together inside a concrete and steel device at the entrance to the site operated by Rathlin Energy at 5am on Thursday morning (9 May 2019).

They have now remained in the gateway for two nights.

A specialist police protester-removal team from North Yorkshire arrived on Saturday morning. The protesters were released from the device and arrested.

A spokesperson for Humberside Police said Toni Brigham (30) and James Francis (33), both of Lincoln, were both charged with obstructing the highway and obstructing a police officer.

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Specialist protester-removal team outside Rathlin Energy’s West Newton oil and gas exploration site, 11 May 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

Eyewitnesses reported that police removed blankets last night and refused to allow hot drinks for the protesters. Blankets were allowed again at about 12.30am and drinks at about 6.30am this morning, they said.

Humberside police said officers remained in the area “in order to allow people to go about their lawful business and to protect the right of individuals to take part and exercise their right to peaceful protest”.

Chief Inspector Lee Edwards said:

“Prior to their arrest, officers monitored the welfare of the two protesters, allowing supporters to provide them with blankets and other essentials as night fell and temperatures dropped.

“They were removed from the area by specialist teams from North Yorkshire Police this morning and remain in our custody at this time.

“Our aim is to minimise disruption to local communities and road networks during any ongoing protests at the site.

“We are working closely with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and will liaise with representatives from all sides to address concerns.

“We are committed to fulfilling our duty to protect the human rights of all groups and individuals with an interest in this situation.”

In a statement at the start of the action, the protesters said drilling equipment to sink a second well at the site had created an “industrial scar on the landscape”. They also said there was a need to “reduce and eradicate the use of fossil fuels immediately”.

“With recent declarations of climate emergency by administrations at all levels of power across the country, both locally and nationally, this group believe that if people do not step forward to highlight and take action against the industrialisation of the countryside we could be set to see many of our landscapes and precious species start to disappear.”

Vehicles were able to enter the site on Thursday but other protesters blocked the site on Friday and Saturday.

40 replies »

  1. [Edited by moderator] You’re easy to spot, you know. You just trot out the same straw men every time, and it doesn’t matter if your tired old arguments are untrue, if you repeat them often enough and through enough sock puppets, you think you’re creating the illusion of genuine public debate. It’s sad and gross, but you know, you’re losing the real public debate, more and more every day.

  2. There was no blockade on Saturday … that is a police lie. The police created the blockade themselves and wouldn’t let anyone by, even local people wanting to get to their homes. When asked, the police on duty (blockading the road) said they had been taken off normal duties for it. Even they thought the orders were bizarre (but they followed them).

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