Aaaand we’re two weeks down! After an epic first week of the Rolling Resistance to stop fracking in Lancashire, we’ve had another 5 days of amazing actions which have kept up the pressure! People from all over the country, of all ages and walks of life kept coming to join the tireless local activists and the long standing camps in saying NO to this toxic industry!
Monday 10th July 2017
It was an intimidating start to the week: we heard over the weekend that Lancashire police intended to start a ‘mutual aid’ system: getting reinforcements (at extra cost to the taxpayer rather than Cuadrilla) from other officers across the UK. Many brave activists experienced violence and aggression from security and the police last week, so this news made us nervous, and we didn’t know what to expect.
But the police and security weren’t going to stop us! Monday’s action kick-started at fracking company Cuadrilla’s HQ – about 25 minutes from the Preston New Road fracking site. A rowdy bunch taped up the building as a climate crime scene, dressed up as security guards, and created a ‘sterile area’ to give Cuadrilla a taste of their own medicine.
Meanwhile, down at the fracking site, the truck surfers were out! An amazing crew helped slow down two delivery trucks and lorries, and used creative tactics to divert the police. This meant the surfers could climb up on top of the vehicles and stop them from moving onto the site for around four and a half hours.
If that wasn’t enough of a headache for Cuadrilla, it also turned out that their drill had been damaged and one of their suppliers backed out. Overall a terrible day for Cuadrilla and a jubilant one for us!
Tuesday 11th July 2017
It was a day of decoy tactics! The pouring rain didn’t stop this group of sneaky arm-tubers – who lay in the middle of the road to prevent access to the site. The gates were blocked for hours as the police set up a sterile area and called out a special team to cut out of the arm tubes only to discover that the arm tubes were made of foam and straw! This successful show of defiance (and cheekiness) was a massive boost to everyone’s confidence at the roadside.
Wednesday 12th July 2017
A day that started sadly with the eviction of the beautiful kerbside camp and towers, ended up being one of inspiration with two deeply moving actions.
First, the serene anti-fracking being Lancashire Nanas came out in force. The Nanas have been at the forefront of the resistance for several years and are truly a force to be reckoned with. All dressed in white, a group of around 90 women processed up Preston New Road, and held a peaceful vigil in response to all the police and security violence of recent days. We heard moving stories about their personal motivations for joining the resistance; the importance of standing against aggression; and why we must keep resisting.
Half-way through, came another action with a very human touch as three generations of the same Lancashire-based family locked on and blockaded Cuadrilla’s gates. After a bit of kerfuffle unloading the trailer as family members and friends closed the road using arm tubes in yellow boxes.
Gillian Kelly, who took action with her partner, son and granddaughter, said: “as a result of this action, I would like many more people to stand up and be counted, because numbers really do make a difference.”
It was a wonderful day, which emphasised the ordinary people behind the resistance and the responsibility on all of us to protect our planet.
Thursday 13th July 2017
PR Marriot, based in Chesterfield, is becoming increasingly infamous for its involvement in supplying drill, seismic testing and rig parts to Cuadrilla in Lancashire. Today it was time to pay them a visit, and to support the protection camp that has been based outside their offices for the last 2 weeks. Another inspiring crew set up a tripod and locked on with arm tubes outside the gates, to stop action for the day. The group included one brave local woman who had never taken direct action before, but was empowered to stand up and put her body on the line for the first time.
Back at Preston New Road, we were honoured to be joined by William Hawk of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Standing Rock are on the frontline of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He reminded us that the fight against fracking in Lancashire is part of a wider global resistance to extreme energy and environmental destruction.
A mass demo for climate, jobs, renewables and divestment! The day started with a two car lock on, which kept the gates shut until the crowds arrived. An estimated 200 people came down to the roadside today – many for the first time. We celebrated the resistance so far and heard from a range of speakers about the solutions we need to see and the wider politics of climate justice, and economic and social justice – of which the anti-fracking movement is part. Many trade unions were represented including PCS, Unite, Unison, the NUT and UCU and their speakers emphasised how the Trade Unions would keep supporting the fight against fracking. Strength in numbers meant our mere presence shut Cuadrilla’s site down for the day. It felt like a carnival, with singing, delicious food and even some disco yoga and this very positive and powerful day ended with people linking arms in front of the gate.
What a week, and what an amazing array of actions and activities everyone has made happen together! And the impact is being felt: there have been more than 40 pieces of press so far including one about Cuadrilla’s struggle to get investors. It’s no surprise of course – what sensible investor would want to put their money into such an unpopular and risky business? Especially when they know it will be resisted at every step.
It’s hard to believe we are only 2 weeks in. To keep this going, we still need more numbers, more ingenuity, and more determination; but looking at the last two weeks, there’s no doubt that it will happen!
— Reclaim The Power (@reclaimthepower) July 14, 2017