Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Day 45 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 45 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are in a dark place despite the sunshine; today I heard from Protectors who had been amidst the daily police pushing and are harmed on many levels by it. For most of us, being physically manhandled and shoved about – is not something encountered in regular life. There is a brutal reality of protest that is hard for anyone to take – those new to activism, even more so. The huge increase in policing these past few weeks has created an atmosphere of tension and oppression from which outbursts of frustration erupt and are quickly wrestled to the ground by police. We are acting lawfully and morally - only standing or slowly walking or sitting and there is no violence from Protectors, no weapons, no attacks – just delay and disruption to the threat this industry brings… yet our right to peacefully protest is being denied in a brutal way.

So what now? Clearly the actions to slow vehicles at the site on PNR is of small effect now that we are stopped with force and soon, fences will go up (the sound wall is higher that the wall in Gaza), making impact even more challenging. Some of us spoke today about other tactics to be tried (there is no right or wrong way – just trial and error) and of course, the huge value of the Pop Up Protests (PuPs) that are aimed at letting suppliers know that this one contract with Cuadrilla, is just not worth it. At the roadside when numbers are visible on trucks, Protectors sometimes call and it would be helpful if others could too – in order to not be accused of threatening behaviour, perhaps saying something along the lines of::

“I understand you have a contract to supply Cuadrilla at Preston New Road and wonder if you understand that this is a fracking site that is strongly opposed by the community. We would ask that you end this contract and are willing to provide information and help if we can to enable this. If you continue to supply this dangerous industry then we will consider it our right to protest your actions.”

The stock market figures are not recovering, so little work is happening on site and essentially – despite appearances and the way it feels in the intensity of the roadside – we ARE impacting not just this frack site but the very idea of any frackers getting into any community without opposition. On a personal level today, I felt despondent and so sad at some of the conversations about the suffering being experienced; maybe it was this or just a bug but I felt too sick to go on and left early. It hurts to see what unfolds here and I have deep concerns about the health and well-being of all of us who do this.

It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow and there’s another event too calling for people to give up a day of work and join us instead… hoping this will lift the day.Also really looking forward to hearing from our friends in Yorkshire as Andrew Cooper and others from Green Party of England and Wales set off tomorrow to walk from the Kirby Misperton site to our site at PNR - arriving to a big welcome this Sunday. See you tomorrow? X

View from fellow Protector Miranda Cox on the Day 45 at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest:

Day 45 - Miranda
After being advised last night that it was intended there would be a de-escaltion in tensions on PNR, I was sceptical as I could only imagine that happening with our right to protest being upheld, coupled with less brutal policing. It just did not happen. Again the pattern repeated itself, the kettling, the dragging, the chasing, the screaming. It's the screams of pain that haunted each of us, adding fuel to an already volatile situation.

I cannot write it, I just don't yet know how to express this level of pain and distress. I have been talking about the long term with fellow protectors, wondering about the kind of community we will leave our children. Whatever happens we are fractured. Those who firmly believe this industry is abhorrent will not suffer in silence. Those who support it do not suffer in silence. Those who have no opinion, or do not give voice to one, are going to inherit a fractured land. The trust in our agencies and authorities is withering. 

Yesterday I shouted my dismay, at the facilitation of this, at the provocation, the destruction of our freedoms. Today I didn't shout. I found strength in peace. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Highlight of the day…. Sadly hard to find much to lift the day but there are always the faces around us that smile back in deep understanding of what we share. Amongst those faces today was one I was so pleased to rest eyes on, a dear friend from Occupy London

Photo thanks to Ros Wills