Monday, 20 February 2017

Day 34 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 34 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people spent most of the day amidst an 8-Protector lock-on that prevented any deliveries (until early evening after arrests and once most had gone home). Vans of police, police in vans, vans, police and other police vehicles cluttered the road – unlike the protectors who had safely tucked into the fencing onto what would be pavement area – if it wasn’t being the entrance to Cuadrilla’s site. Vehicles passed easily and without much notice for the first few hours, then as the ‘Protestor Removal Team’ arrived, the entire road was closed. Police said this was to get everyone who wasn’t locked-on, across the road to the other side. Seemed a bit dramatic. Meanwhile just behind this dramatic scene, the real crime goes on without any police attention to the destruction it brings that will make 8 little humans on a fence, look like a picnic in the park. The diggers moved dirt from one side to the other idly – as if passing time more than achieving anything and the impatience of the site staff was clear in faces and mood. I had to leave just before the last 2 Protectors were ‘removed’ so don’t have first-hand knowledge of what followed. Other feeds are carrying info that all 8 arrested and later, a further incident in the dark that resulted in arrest. I haven’t followed this up yet as just in. Massive thanks to Protectors at Ellesmere Port today taking action against supplier Morgans <3 span="">

So lock-ons… this peaceful, non-violent direct-action tactic is used to prevent construction or operation of industries like fracking, from being able to do harm. When watching livestreams and seeing images, it looks far from peaceful but worth noting that it’s only when being removed that things get louder and more worrying. Sometimes even the cutting of the lock-on apparatus can be done without drama. The effect of lock-ons is obvious as they prevent work continuing and so in the scheme of what we aim for – today was a ‘success’. In my heart and my mind though – it was a day that still echoes the shouting, verbal abuse, raised tempers, tension and torn feelings – I GET our rage, I feel it too… but increasing anger creates an ugliness that makes it harder and harder for many to endure. This alien landscape is populated by people fulfilling roles that pit them against each other and how we each handle these conflicts – is very different. An exhausting day that made me think of war zones… that if we think this tension every day is hard – I can’t bear to imagine the suffering of families amidst daily conflict and wonder at the damage that is irreparably done to each of them having to be in a heightened state of anxiety and alertness for so long.

Tomorrow some at the roadside have decided to bring reminders of our children’s say in all this and will be placing small toys and dolls around the area and along the entrance-way. Symbolism of the way this industry is crushing the chances for our young to have a safe future where clean air and water are normal and crops grow in these fields of Lancashire – not drill rigs.

…Tomorrow… every time I’ve written that word these past 34 days – has been as unclear as the bottom of a mucky pond, on a dull mucky day – you never know what will come to the surface when stirred. See you tomorrow? x
Another perspective from today at the roadside with Miranda Cox’s view:

[Day 34. I awoke to the news of another lock on and arrived at the site to see cheerful faces amid the tension of security staff and workers. There were plenty of protestors along the path and once we were happy everyone was comfortable and had sufficient food and water the morning slipped into its usual pattern. This is the pattern of passing cars, honking horns, hand gestures of various kinds and friendly chatter from protectors. Then mid morning the Protestor Removal Team arrived, their vehicles shielding those on the ground from our view, and yet nothing happened. The road was closed for a while, heightening our anxiety as we foresaw the coming inaccurate headlines. Then a mass of police drafted in from across the region, added to the ominous mood. As protectors suggested repeatedly the road be reopened, it was done so safely and the cutters began their afternoon's work. The air was full of drilling, and birdsong. At one point a large flock of swans flew over quite low, reminding us all of the wonderful eco system we have and wish to protect. After a lock on lasting almost 10 hours the eight protectors were cut free. Immediately those of us remaining roadside sensed a mood shift from the site as a mass of orange coated security gathered. Within minutes of the PRT vehicles leaving we were surrounded by police and vans moved to secure the site. Three large wagons sped in convoy and the gates locked behind. Subsequent live streaming showed a ninth protector brutally treated and arrested after dark. Four vehicles in total entered after the direct action. Who knows what we awake to tomorrow....What I do know is this is not over]
*Highlight of the day… the lack of work done on site and the wonderful solidarity action with the PUP at Ellesmere Port <3 span="">

*Photo thanks to Ros Wills x