The Peoples' Response 

 

The policing, its brutal nature and the many unlawful arrests, had a significant impact on the success of the campaign, generating a sense of injustice that merely strengthened peoples’ resolve.

This sort of response is by no means unique to this campaign, but for many whose involvement at Barton Moss was their first ever protest, it had a huge impact. Unsurprisingly, many

were politicised by the experience, a process expressed by this protestor, "I'm a local resident, a peaceful person. I've never demonstrated before in my life, I'm not a politically aware person, just easy going, believe the Government, believe people, but do you know what? I am staggered with what I've seen… It breaks my heart." The previous day she had attended the protest to see what was going on"I came down, watched it go past, stood on the side and just cried, watching the police just pushing people down this footpath. Today I came and joined the group.” [1]

Another protestor, a local resident who regularly engaged in the protests walks, emphasized the idea that the brutal and unjust nature of the policing merely increased the resolve of the local community. His first interest in the protest was due to the dangers of fracking. But after seeing some of the videos of the protest decided to go and find out what was going on for himself. He spoke about how the policing made it more difficult to protest. “It was very, very congested which created loads of confrontation. At the end when I did my direct action and why I did my direct action, apart from being about the dangers of fracking, was because it felt like we were in a police state… I had tried many times to speak to the inspector about their behaviour and the way they would take it upon themselves to get us up the road in record time when the day before it had taken 45 minutes to an hour. As a direct result of that, and when they lost control and ran at people like myself and others, I thought I am going to make a stand because they shouldn’t be able to push people around like that.”[2]

This wasn’t his first direct action[3] but is an example of the growing number of people who took to this type of protest in frustration at the brutality of the policing. He explained, “I have protested before but the only other direct action I’ve ever taken is to climb on a roof of a prison. Doing that you knew you were inviting violence and all sorts upon yourself. It is a result of massive frustrations for people to do that in prison and it is no different to what happened at Barton Moss. It felt like the right to protest had been taken away from us. But I’ll tell you what really bothered me is the fear and desperation I used to see on people’s faces who don’t come from my world; you get an affiliation to people like that. I’m not able to travel around the country to protest against this but if they come back, I’ll be there.”[4]

Notes

[1]Taken from an interview on February 19th2014 with a protester who lives in Irlam 

[2]Taken from an interview on April 19th2014 with a protester who lives in Manchester 

[3]Forhis direct action at Barton Moss he and another protestor glued their arms to the inside of a metal tube whilst they lay on the road forcing a delay to the convoy of trucks as they tried to enter the drilling site.

[4]Taken from an interview on April 19th2014 with a protester who lives in Manchester