Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House by TinaLouiseUK
Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House by TinaLouiseUK
Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people ride the waves of empowerment and hope and fall victim to the tides of violence and anguish in varying measures. We’re tossed between disbelief that THIS is actually the state of democracy and the awareness that we can’t fail or so much crumbles with us… safe air and water, good agricultural land, a community identity, the health of our people, the respect of our children, a voice in our lives and so much more. This is a stand for sanity to win out over ‘the economy’ and for us to make our system of government face up to its recklessness. Day 138 was a thing of beauty and wisdom, where the genuine TRUTH of our movement shone bright… day 139 was an abomination of our rights, an assault on our persons and proof positive that we really are now in no-man’s land, down a rabbit hole, up a creek and yet somehow, through all this… becoming a kaleidoscopic mass of beauty by diversity and stubborn determination.
So it is that we face our days never knowing what they will bring, only the certainty that at 6:30pm there will be a meal at the Community Hub, that we will find each other more often now in kindness and empathy and that no-one can ever really go home for good but that little breaks matter. Some days are pure hell with nothing but aggressive policing, snarling security and uncertainty over what new toxins are emerging from the growing monstrosity of the forming frack site… other days (currently Mondays & Wednesdays), we feel what it would be like to live in wiser times… where the community can come together to oppose the obvious risks of this industry and not be assaulted for doing so.
Day 138 was the Anti-Fracking – Second ‘Green Monday’! – where green/enviro/eco groups come to the roadside at Preston New Road to speak their reasons and make voices heard. The event was beautiful and after speeches, inadvertently ended up with what was set to be a group photo… resulting in at least 60 of us sitting down within the entrance-way to the site (completely off the road) and holding the space till the end of day at 6:30pm. We did this purely peacefully; singing, chatting and feeling the effect of non-violent direct action in practice. Work stopped and we remained without road closure due to our activities and without incident – our single aim (to stop work at the site) was met and it was a day that was good to be part of. The police behaved professionally and no action by them was required as no crimes were being committed.
Today I woke to an entirely different scene (livestream uploaded to YouTube)… the police gathered outside the entrance to the Community Hub at Maple Farm to hold us in place as a convoy passed – they always do this to ensure no-one tries to exercise articles 10 & 11 of the Human Rights Act and use non violent direct action to protest. This morning was particularly aggressive one small woman apparently approached a delivery vehicle and I witnessed the police chase her into the entrance of Maple Farm. They caught her and threw her to the stony-gravel ground with the weight of the officers on her tiny back pressing her down. Naturally those around her rushed in defense – NONE applying violence, only shouts; stronger male Protectors were tousled with by the large number of police. The scene was ugly, disproportionate and a complete mess of policing – no control, no order, no attempt at dialogue – just out and out brutality and tragically, a vile sense of pleasure in some of the police faces.
This contrast I try to weigh up… the way GREEN MONDAY went and how today went. We also have events on Wednesdays – the one in the morning is our 5th and we call them the ‘Women’s Call For Calm’ – we dress in white and form a silent vigil for 15 minutes at the police line before each telling our story of why we’re here. This too is a good day where newcomers feel safer to join us and policing so far has been as it should be – reasonable, respectful, professional and facilitating both peaceful protest and the safety of all involved in the area from road users to workers and Protectors… the differences that mark these ‘set days’ as opposed to days without plan are: numbers – we have at least 70+ on Mondays and Wednesdays which makes policing us more challenging… and the other difference (and I think it’s maybe the key one) is demographic… our police do not so easily lunge to violence when the people before them are the retired midwives, professors, choir masters, teachers, Councillors and business people of the community. This fact shows bias and is an awful reality that results in countless injuries and needless cruel arrests of wonderful people who have given their all to stop this industry.
I don’t know how we fix any of this… only that we must. Fracking is an ugly symptom of far greater problems but in tackling it… we expose them; the corruption in government that serves industry at the expense of people’s health and wellbeing – media lies/disinformation and arrogant disregard of the very real news we experience but never get to see on TV – the myth of local government as we see it exposed as impotent in the face of Westminster commands – the abuse of our public services including the police who we see used as an extension of industry security team and with an agenda that puts daily quotas of work at a frack site, above and beyond the safety of the people who oppose it.
This ugly business is draining but thankfully these beautiful Protectors are sustaining. See you at the roadside? <3
Preston New Road