Day 75 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were in short supply, unlike (as we’ve come to expect) the policing which comes packaged tightly in multiple dark vehicles that litter Preston New Road – fly-tipped from the over-reactive mind of someone, somewhere ‘higher up’ who has fears beyond the reality. One of the dark vehicles hurtled at speed under blue lights today, making a fuss… for all of a few yards; seems drama is a key ingredient to policing this road. Certainly there was no cause as a single lane was (yet again) closed in order to enable a convoy of seemingly precious trucks to thunder into the frack site; ample dozens of glowing police had already herded the pensioners, disabled, peaceful few Protectors into a cosy huddle and NOTHING looked remotely threatening. Today was different as all days are different but the one thing that is currently to be relied on for predictability – is that the policing is massive, over-reactive and ill-informed about what’s really going on. Lots of trucks in on this day where we were light on Protectors but impossible now to keep tallies as the pattern of days has changed.
So when my sister and I left to get back to grandma duties this afternoon, it happened to be at the time of another truck arrival – causing more wild panic on the road with the on-edge policing. Another dark carrier raced to catch us up (we were pretty slow as pulling a PA system and carrying signs and other paraphernalia) …as the door of the vehicle opened, out poured a good 9+ officers – sort of laughably for a minute looking like parachuters do before they jump. They dramatically forced a line between us two grandmas who were walking away quietly – and an oncoming truck on the other side of the road. Well, words fail me (which is pretty rare). I said we were clearly headed home and asked what on earth they thought we were going to do. An officer said “well you never know do you, people lie” – this is apparently one of my tender points as it set off a roar in me. We’re treated every day as if we’re vicious criminals (NO violence EVER comes from Protectors – only police) and now he judges me as a potential liar too. I raged and it was pointless of course, but it cleared my anger at least for a moment.
What ARE they briefed before they come on duty? To expect what? Rabid, raging animals ffs?! We are deeply concerned UK residents seeking to protect ourselves, families, communities from a real and provable threat to our health along with the quality of the essentials to ALL life – air and water. Yet we find ourselves here on the seemingly ‘wrong side of the law’ each day.
I did this word-cloud (my first) from my ongoing (though terribly unreliable now) blog about PNR… the image doesn’t surprise me – all those words and thoughts that rush around as in this height of dilemma – answers are sought. It’s so sad though isn’t it? I know I’m not the only one stuck in a reel of thoughts and constant seeking that has evicted all the former thoughts… hard to recall what I filled my head with before this but I bet it would have been a prettier word cloud with more frivolity, joy and hope. Such a ridiculous way for humans to spend our days. That we have to do this in the absence of a responsible government, speaks volumes about what our ‘democracy’ and systems of checks and balances has come to.
I wonder what the police think is going to happen? They keep claiming to seek only the safety of all and yet despite the complete non-violence of all Protectors – each day violence is applied to us; they man-handle us far more brutally than this situation could possibly warrant. We are in the way, we are trying to be disruptive and we are angered… the police want us to peacefully co-operate and we want to have an impact and there lies the crux of the problem.
We claim articles 10 & 11 of the Human Rights Act is what empowers our actions to protest this industry. Slow walking has been recognised as acceptable use of right to protest – yet the police tell us it just can’t be done on this road as it’s too fast. Advisory notices to reduce speed are in place and should soon become compulsory – so surely then we ask, it would be our right to slow-walk. They are evasive on this. They can’t imagine surely that waving banners and getting road user support – is what protest looks like? We KNOW this industry brings harm to our children and will work to stall, delay, stop this site being allowed to develop to production. Pretty soon we’re all going to have to work out what this is heading to and what we can do for or about the various potential outcomes. Thankfully PNR isn’t the only arena where fracking is being challenges… Pop up Protests at suppliers, work in political circles, Councillors, NGOs, environmental groups and more are all part of the mix too and although the roadside can be upsetting, the supplier pull outs have been uplifting – it’s swings and roundabouts.
In the end, this will not be stopped by direct action at the roadside alone – and there are many working in all sorts of places to help. Numbers though make a difference and your presence is always very much valued if you can make it. Despite the policing, it is safe enough (what a crazy sentence to type) and there is always the best of company to get you through. See you at the roadside?♥