Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Thanks to Miranda Cox for the update from Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - this about yesterday - Day 54 of works by Cuadrilla:
Today I had to take a day away from PNR,so rather than try and piece together a daily dairy based on other people's messages, I thought about the live streamers and the very important role they play in recording and debate of this campaign. Being fortunate enough to be able to be roadside most days has enabled me to be consistent in my observations,I hope. Today surrounded by admin and tasks from the other life, my pre-fracking life, I couldn't help but be drawn to the posts, updates and live streams pinging through my computer all day. I have witnessed many things over the past eight weeks. I have seen trucks come and go, I have seen residents and protectors pushed to their physical and mental limits, I have seen attitudes of protectors, workers and police change and I have also been aware of growing resolve.
Amateur and professional photographers, film makers and live streamers are keeping this campaign visible in lieu of a mainstream media which is conspicuously absent. Live streaming isn't always about the drama, often the streams capture the humanity, the relationships between protectors. Today I viewed a protector explaining to a police officer whom she had recognised, why she was stood in front of him. The interchange was normal, an exchange not out of place in the workplace. It was however short-lived as the regimented routine of the police sweep, the containment of protectors, took priority.
The unedited streams reveal much about authorities and the protest alike. They capture both the ugliness and injustice of the corporate imposition. Similarly they record evidence, increasingly essential as the industry hastens toward production. The live streamers are out in all weathers, documenting, a form of protection for demonstrators, often placing themselves in physical danger. These are interesting and challenging times. Personally I am so grateful for the presence of these activists.]
Saturday, 18 March 2017
Day 53 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were here in their multiples and clearly the famine of yesterday became a feast of humanity in all its glory today. Unusually but somewhat joyously, a walk to the entrance of the site showed the gates locked with a heavy chain and two vehicles blockading entrance or exit from the site and only the lime machine working behind… the Protectors though were not responsible for this successful action to prevent work. The site staff in fear of people with concerns, had created their own lock-on (more lock-in actually) and essentially locked themselves in their room for the day… perhaps realising they really shouldn’t come out till they learn better behaviour lol.
So today we can look back and ask ourselves, “What does it take to stop a site from developing?” and we can safely and boldly say …people. Every single ONE person who showed up, caused Cuadrilla to react, to lock itself down in fear of our mission to see truth, justice, democracy and sanity served. Along PNR at various points were people heading in one direction or the other between Maple Farm and site entrance and despite the bitter wind, constant drizzle and gusty winds – they kept coming and adding to our persistence.
Bolton Against Fracking are rapidly becoming a favourite at the roadside… they come with ‘skipped food’ and today, the most delicious, piping-hot homemade soup along with bread for scooping the gorgeous chunkiness of it. The gratitude of the frozen at the roadside (both by temperature and dedication), could not have been more apparent as blue-tinged hands clasped steaming cups and smiles thawed through.
A good day full of good people doing the good stuff. See you Monday at the roadside? X
*Highlight of the day… really useful and reassuring meeting at Maple with a lovely blend of Protectors and news that the Judicial Review is over a little early – much relief for the incredible groups of residents who have doggedly pushed this through and put in years of hard work. Not all Protectors are seen at the roadside, some have their heads down in research and challenge in courts and councils too – huge thanks to them xxx
*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson
ps: as we're all over the road these days... please be aware that other incidents and actions happen so it's worth following livestreams and posts of others at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest to ensure the fuller picture <3 span="">3>
Friday, 17 March 2017
Day 52 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were spread between the Judicial Review in Manchester, AE Yates in Bolton for PuP (Pop up Protest) and at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest . The policing was at a ratio of 10 to every Protector and the scene is clearly not one where peaceful protest can in any way occur – contravening our human rights and showing our government to be in the same business as the frackers and using our police as a buffer and battering ram to prevent us with our messy truth slipping through and halting this. Sadly it was all a bit much to realise the determination of what appears to be a wannabe totalitarian regime and how very much bigger we are going to have to be to stop it.
So for many at the roadside, our hearts, thoughts, fears and internal butterflies are desperately focused on the Judicial Review in Manchester – our last shot at using a tool in the system to stop them – if it fails, there is ONLY direct action and that is a horrid future to face. Our case for the JR is incredible – you couldn’t argue it unless you were corrupt and driven by profit alone… which is where we wait and wonder if our points of law can survive and land with a judge who sees justice as his sole purpose. For me though, Day 52 made me feel too small to have effect and I succumbed to a loss of strength and called it a day around lunchtime.
There was at least a good thing… a lovely woman from the retirement park at Carr Bridge (alongside Maple Farm) returned to the roadside at Maple. She used to join us when we had events or days of action here over the years but is unable to reach the site entrance, so not been part of the daily protests and actions of late. On this day though she went to Maple and got a helpful Protector from the camp to assist opening gates and getting signs… she was soon joined by a few others and I stopped to see them on my way home. So glad I did as they are hope <3 span="">3>
Late start for my sister and I on Day 53 as we have to get some things and balance a baby in the process… at least if we are at Maple the those with childcare responsibilities or infirmities can be part of this too. Whether we can make any impact here remains to be seen but at least the policing down this end of the same road is lighter and we can aim to enhance the other actions that take place between. See you at the roadside?
*Memorable moment of the day.... hmmm was mostly a bit sad really but the little uprising from the retirement park was very beautiful x
Thursday, 16 March 2017
Day 51 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are still hard at it and me, I have been a bit overwhelmed by too much in my head and heart along with too many things to do and places to be… so I didn’t get round to writing up the days since Day 46. Thankfully Miranda kept up where she could whilst I didn’t and the collection of some missed days at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest follows my little bit. Today we gathered and although most were at the main site entrance on PNR, others were in Manchester Court for the first day of the crucial Judicial Review to challenge Westminster … and some of us broke away to get back down the hill to Maple Farm. My sister and I started the day by presenting the Police with a print out of the appropriate parts of the Human Rights Act that relate to peaceful protest… we asked them to go read and ensure they understood that we were acting lawfully with our actions (we planned on slow walking trucks) and did not consider this unreasonable or arrestable. We also asked that they provide printed evidence of any decision they made to deny us our right.
So with the daily heavy policing at the entrance and every attempt at peaceful protest actions or worthwhile slow-walks stopped as they try to start – some Nanas and other Protectors decided to take ourselves further down PNR in order to stand a chance at slow-walking. The police popped down to find Julie and I in response to the paperwork we’d given them and to try to tell us that slow-walks weren’t considered ‘safe’ on this busy road. We could see clearly the length of this stretch of road, the traffic was quite light and just a few hours earlier, had witnessed an ‘Abnormal Load’ travelling at slow-walk speed, without a police escort – it was a tram being delivered to Blackpool and we argued that if this was not considered unsafe then we weren’t. Their argument was weak and we would win in court as Protectors have time and again at other sites… but it helped to go through this process for clarity. No-one wants to be arrested or handled with force and we shouldn’t be – we are in the right… we need to keep publicly making this point even if the police are ignoring it.
A truck did come along shortly after this and our worry that we wouldn’t know which truck was for the site, was helpfully sorted when a van load of police came to herd us at the roadside outside Maple Farm. I had crossed the road to livestream them spreading out when a police car began to pass with the truck behind… I stepped between the two and was joined by others as the police swarmed, pushed, grabbed, shouted and used their bodies to bump us of the road. We didn’t get long but we hoped that the same treatment would be received by the same truck at various points in its journey up PNR to the site. We’ll be doing this again I think ;)
The ever-growing frustration amongst the good people at the roadside is immense… we are being treated as if we are criminals and the police are brutal in their handling of our bodies. We cannot continue to endure this and the situation will grow worse on so many levels if we can’t find our way to stop this soon. I fear for the well-being of all of us – whether we’re new or experienced, this is a vile set of experiences to live through every day. See you tomorrow?
View from Miranda Cox of the past few days:
Lock on's are a really good way of stopping work on site. It looks excruciating for those involved, waiting. What strikes me as worse is the release.
I tried to watch as some were cut out by the protestor removal team and it was upsetting. The noise of the blades cutting the sound of metal on metal...The silence in between. All shrouded a barrier of police vans and personnel. Then of course there's the issue when force outweighs compassion. Sadly I feel we are seeing more of this.
Today's action did not inconvenience road users, just those trying to build the frack pad. The road was closed briefly by Police, not protestors, on a couple of occasions. This was to allow the Protestor removal team to set up and then to allow a stream of vehicles off site. At no point did protector action impact on road users.
The mood amongst supporters was light. Many people passed and made food donations and shared good wishes. The day was spent discussing humanity, the social implications and ecological issues connected with this campaign.
It took a whole day to release the eight people. Another whole day lost for those who want to frack. Hope to see you tomorrow or at some point soon.
Joyous day.....My heart literally jumped when I saw the early morning live stream of a protector on top of a lorry.
My activity today has been fencing. Not the skillful art involving masks and foils and lots of fancy foot moves, but the monotonous questions about fence lines. Why bother some may ask? Because I can and I will. I cannot outrun trucks, and even my attempts at physically blocking trucks are swept aside by a wall of hi vis yellow. Not that this will stop me. But what I can do is ask questions, and keep asking.
The fence line issue is more than a planning argument. It epitomises the way this industry insists on taking from us. The extra 2 metres in highway conceded to heras fencing may seem like just 2 metres of tarmac. It isn't. It's 2 metres of land taken by an industry, facilitated by our county council, and guarded by our police.
Several reasons were promoted today. The mere fact so many versions were proferred leaves us to sumise. Peaceful protest will continue
*Most moving part of the day for me was when I watched footage of two honourable Protectors at the site entrance who sat in dignity and peacefully refused to move – thankfully they were not harmed or arrested.
by being at Maple Farm where there is no hill to climb... ample seating, a kettle and a toilet - some of the residents of the retirement park were at last able to join us in protest and others who can't normally stay too long for health reasons, were able to be here longer :) Also those with little ones have said they can come more often as there is a safe secure place to be.
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Day 46 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were absolutely gorgeous in numbers, in spirit and in impact – NO DELIVERIES came today and we… we sang, danced, drummed and grew in power. Conversations flowed up and down the roadsides and around the entrance gate and spring sunshine blessed the day with the light it deserved and needed, after too much gloom and thunder in recent times.
So the day unfolded brilliantly (for the most part) – marred though by early arrests, serious over-policing that felt intimidatory even when contained in cramped vans on the verges and a particularly brutal and entirely unwarranted assault by police on a Protector in the afternoon …along with a finale involving a chorus line of luminescent police officers poised to make their moves. Harms were done but the Protectors emerged triumphant in the realisation and validation of the fact that EVERY single person counts… because once you counted us over 200, the trucks didn’t even try to come… and thus the police had no cause to leave their containers for the most part. Relieved, concerned for those hurt and arrested but overall, healed hugely by today’s company at the roadside.
The aim of the day and the reason we swelled in numbers was because someone had the brilliant idea of an event called Swap Work For Work - Power To The People – the description of the day said:
“Let's show Cuadrilla we ain't weekend warriors! We can assemble and gather on a weekday in numbers. We can protest with non-violent ways. We can book time off our day jobs or responsibilities in order to make real impact to the sites work schedule by a combination of effective peaceful protest. Each person attending will be autonomous and so can make their action however they wish. We all said no to fracking! Join us on Wednesday 8th March. The daily gatherings will take place each weekday morning before this, but we are publicising this event to give all who are too busy to attend time to arrange to come. One in, all in. ♥”
…and good people listened and came in sufficient numbers to stop the threat of fracking for the day – just wow! It would be lovely if each reading this could look into booking a day off to be at the roadside on the all-important weekdays when the frackers advance their ugly business. Wednesdays would be nice but any day would be deeply appreciated by all – you may be the one, that tips the balance.
About the bad bits... I would only be sharing second hand as I arrived after the early arrests and missed the next two by not being in the area they happened- clearer views from actual witnesses will be found in livestreams of Danny Vc Llew andFrank Roberts as well as posts from others. I gave livestreaming a go today and although I made people a little sea-sick at times with odd angles lol, I enjoyed what it offered; the chance to take time with those at the roadside and share the genuineness at the heart of the good people – rather than a fleeting glance at them at the heart of often traumatic scenes. There is so much beauty here, it was a joy to let go of the ugly bits and wallow in it whilst sharing. I’ll give it another go and will try to get a grip of doing it better… either that or you might want to invest in those bracelet things for travel sickness when viewing :) See you tomorrow? x
Thankful as always that @Miranda too is at the roadside to add to the perspective <3 span="">3>
Day 46 – from Miranda:
A day of immense power and joy, framed by arrests and menace. Early arrests and ugly scenes belied the happy scenes that followed later in the morning and continued into the late afternoon.
A visit from the Police and Crime Commissioner afforded a few early arrivals to raise concerns and fears. It felt staged as these opportunities often are and those of us who did speak, left feeling we'd been treated politely but that little would change. The morning passed, unlike traffic to site. There were no deliveries at all as numbers grew outside the fence and along the path opposite.
It felt like a spring party with drumming, chat, singing and dancing.
We held a silent circle gathering, channeling our energy into the land, giving it our collective strength and receiving it back. At the culmination of the meditation the drumming started, building in speed and resonance, we began chanting "we said no" and bubbles and chalk bombs were released in a festival of joy and colour. The drumming continued and people danced all afternoon.
After the news a gentle man, a man passionate in his defense of the land and his community had been arrested, protectors remained at the gates. The gathering was disbanded by massive numbers of police. The sinister actions were upsetting but a whole day's work was lost. I fear another escalation, but I cling to the sound of drumming and laughter today, a change from shouts and screams....]
*Highlight of the day… the list is too long and the moments too numerous for this little box for words <3 span="">3> ...but if I had to commit to just one, it would be the drumming, always the drumming - it never ceases to catch us all in its spell xxx
*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson (stunning shot well caught)