Barton Moss & Beyond: Updates

Barton Moss local Protectors. Photo: Tristan Woodwards

Barton Moss local Protectors.
Photo: Tristan Woodwards

A summary of recent weeks:

Barton Moss Road was said to be a footpath; but this turned out not to be as clear cut as Protectors hoped – some charges for highway obstruction were dropped, others weren’t; and some people had obstruction of highway charges replaced by obstruction of officer charges. For a couple of sunny days in Salford the police seemed confused and protectors picnicked in peace, keeping fracking trucks at bay. But then the corporate forces rallied and aggressive arrests ensued once more.

Peel Holdings then decided to try and evict the camp using tatty pieces of paper saying the camp was on their land and the campers must leave. Unsurprisingly, no one took any notice; so Peel decided to take the Barton Moss Protectors to court to get an eviction order. This was granted, giving the camp just 24 hours to pack up and leave… but in a nifty legal move, the Protectors’ solicitors got an emergency hearing at the High Court in London and the camp was given a reprieve – another couple of weeks to gather evidence and present a case as to why the Protectors should NOT be evicted.

Meanwhile, a mass, peaceful, high-spirited anti-fracking demo and rally (over 1000 people) blocked the streets of Manchester for a day. Infamous Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam turned up at Barton Moss in support of the Frack Free message and a mass party ensued. Then Bez, from the Happy Mondays, got on board. Manchester’s always been a counter-cultural hotbed and now it’s time for everyone to stand up and be counted. Bez’s presence did of course generate media interest and a good crowd for the slow walk in front of the trucks, but on this occasion – as has been happening more frequently in recent weeks – the presence of cameras didn’t cause the cops to show restraint. Violent arrests and aggressive policing, assaults on peaceful protesters… this is political policing that seeks to protect private profit and it’s ugly.

Away from Salford, we’re hearing about frack-free protector camps springing up in Chester, Nottingham and beyond… and in London there was a huge We Need To Talk About Fracking gig, with Asian Dub Foundation, Alabama 3 and Vivienne Westwood for celeb appeal.

Some of the latest livestream and reporting here:

News is pouring out via the Salford Star, Frack Off, No Dash for Gas, Northern Gas Gala, Barton Moss Protection Camp, Talk Frack and many other indymedia outlets. Occupy London doesn’t have the reporters and web monkeys to keep on top of it all, so do search around to get the details and latest news.


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