Category Archives: GMP

Barton Moss fracking: High levels of contamination found at site, court hears | Salford Star

COURT HEARS OF TOXIC CONTAMINATION AROUND IGAS SALFORD SITE

At Manchester Magistrates Court today, a District Judge heard expert evidence of contamination around the IGas exploratory drilling site in Barton Moss. Initial findings showed dangerously high levels of toxic PAHs and the hearing concerned the need for the experts to get new samples for further analysis. IGas and Peel Holdings have so far refused access to the site.

Today was a preparatory hearing in relation to defendants who face 51 charges connected to the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss last year.

Barton Mss Fracking Igas contamination

With previous press restrictions lifted today, some of the details have emerged about massive toxic contamination around the controversial IGas exploratory drilling site, the scene of huge anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss last year.

At Manchester Magistrates Court, District Judge Prowse acknowledged the “enormous public interest” in the case and the “dangerously high concentrations” of PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) found from samples taken near the IGas site.

PAHs include acenaphthylene, anthracene, benz[a]anthracene and chrysene – toxic carcinogenic substances which have major affects on human health, as well as on livestock and crops.

Expert witness for the defence, Dr Aidan Foley, told the court he had tested for 16 compounds but needed to go back to the site to get more samples so that he could fingerprint the actual source of the contamination. Both Peel Holdings, the owners of the land, and IGas, which rented its site from Peel, had refused access.

Barton Moss fracking protestors contamination iGas

Dr Foley named a number of sources from where the contamination could have come from, including the M62 which goes past the site, historical dumping, Barton Aerodrome or from plant and machinery used at the IGas drilling site… “Would the logical conclusion be that it must have come off the site?” asked the Judge… “Yes” replied Dr Foley.

To continue reading the original article on the Salford Star’s website please click here.

 

Political Policing: Senior Police Commanders train for future Anti-Fracking Protests #POLICESTATE

A Freedom of Information request submitted by Netpol has confirmed that training for senior police officers on public order strategy now uses a fictional anti-fracking protest based specifically on camps at Balcombe in West Sussex and Barton Moss in Salford.

Local campaigners from Blackpool raising awareness about the dangers of fracking

The College of Policing, which is responsible for police training and development, has refused to release most of the course material from the ‘Public Order Gold Commanders’ training that took place at Bramshill in Hampshire on 9 October 2014. However, the facilitator guide (word, 257K) for the ‘Hydra’ simulation exercise undertaken by participants on the course does reveal an imagined scenario called Operation Hamilton, “a proposed Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) operation” that is “likely to be the subject of an environmental protest”.

This adds further weight to Netpol’s prediction that the police see opposition to fracking as the most significant public order issue they face in the coming year and are actively preparing for it. It also reinforces the need for campaigners to start sharing experiences and learning from the way police and private security personnel respond to individual local campaigns and different protest sites around the country.

Please click here to read original post on netpol.org

A reminder of the policing at Barton Moss which occurred between 2013-14 can be found on a previous post:

GMP and Barton Moss – Disgraceful policing which will NOT be forgotten

Barton Moss fracking protester cleared of obstructing police after court rules GMP got the law WRONG | M.E.N

Barton Moss fracking wrongly arrested by GMP Greater Manchester Police

Garry Henesy ”Fracking is very dangerous for the environment, and this case exposes how police are being used in protecting this industry.”

 

An anti-fracking protester convicted of obstructing police after chaining his neck to a bus has had his conviction dramatically quashed. An appeal panel ruled Greater Manchester Police got the law wrong when they arrested activist Garry Henesy, 35, outside Barton Moss, Eccles a week before Christmas. Mr Henesy had attached himself by the neck to a door handle inside an orange single-decker parked outside the entrance of the Barton Moss Road site in protest at energy company IGas’ test drilling for shale gas, and refused to release himself when officers entered the vehicle.

The makeshift blockade led to works vehicles queuing as they were prevented from getting in. Police arrested Mr Henesy on the basis that his refusal to unlock himself meant he was obstructing their efforts to safely move the bus – which officers believed was ‘obstructing a highway’. Mr Henesy was later charged and convicted in his absence.

However, it later emerged that Barton Moss Road is actually a private road, which means police had no duty to move the bus on. A Manchester Crown Court appeal of conviction heard the inspector tasked with moving the bus on had been given incorrect legal advice. Richard Brigden, defending Mr Henesy, said: “There’s no duty in law to remove an obstruction, under the Highways Act, on a private road. Would you not think it an absolute farce for an officer to get the law wrong, and you then to be charged with obstructing him, because you ignored his erroneous order?”

Ruling there was ‘no case to answer’ and quashing the conviction, Recorder Brian Cummmings QC said: “The whole police approach was based on the belief that the road in question was a highway – unfortunately, from the point view of the police, it has now been established that Barton Moss Road, being a private road, was not and is not a highway.”

Mr Henesy, from Brighton, was one of over thirty people protesting on and around the bus – including others on the roof and chained to the underside.Speaking after the case, he said: “I knew the police were out of their jurisdiction, and didn’t really feel the need to acknowledge them when they came onto the bus, because I believed what we were doing was right. ”Fracking is very dangerous for the environment, and this case exposes how police are being used in protecting this industry.”

GMP declined to comment when approached by the MEN.

This article can be found on the Manchester Evening News website by clicking here.

Igas share price drops another 7% after latest episode of Fracking Nightmare

THIS EPISODE:
– iGas Stock Price heading South
– iGas: From Barton Moss to Ellesmere Port Protection Camp
– Magellan ‘Back Door’ exploratory Well in Surrey
– David Montagu-Smith, Rathlin Energy & a Conflict of Interest
– Simon Pook, Activist Solicitor : The Rise of Corporate Policing

High level collusion revealed between Salford Council, GMP, IGas and Peel Holdings | Salford Star

No Fracking In Salford

HIGH LEVEL COLLUSION BETWEEN SALFORD COUNCIL, IGAS, GMP AND PEEL HOLDINGS DURING ANTI-FRACKING PROTESTS

A `Memorandum of Understanding’ obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows the high level of collusion between Salford Council, IGas, Greater Manchester Police, Peel Holdings and other organisations during the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss – sharing intelligence, communications and branding.

The Memorandum also set out the level of force that the police were expected to use, which has led solicitor Simon Pook to question “the violent actions of Greater Manchester Police at Barton Moss”.

Barton Moss protest outside Swinton

“Forcing campaigners to take on not only the shale gas and oil companies and their multinational partners but the full resources of the state is unacceptable in a democratic society.” Netpol

During the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss this year, Salford City Council largely played down its role, releasing virtually no statements, while no councillor or the City Mayor, Ian Stewart, actually visited the site to see for themselves the level of Greater Manchester Police activity, labelled ‘aggressive‘ and ‘intimidating’ by local residents who were there (see previous Salford Star articles – click here and click here).

Please click here to continue to the full article on the Salford Star website.

GMP and Barton Moss: Disgraceful ‘policing’ which will NOT be forgotten

Today we’ve had a beautiful day of glorious, warm sunshine in Salford. Gloomy, freezing days on the Moss feel like such a long time ago. As the contrast between the two seasons intensifies, the memories of the bleak, so-called ‘facilitated’ protests can begin to fade. It is important to highlight the reality of what happened at Barton Moss earlier this year, and for it not to be forgotten about. The video below, one of hundreds, possibly thousands recorded, makes for uncomfortable viewing, but is nonetheless a valuable record of the farcical, shameful ‘facilitating of protest’ delivered by Greater Manchester Police. If there was any doubt in people’s minds whether GMP lived up to their reputation as Igas’ Private Army, it is videos such as this which only serve to justify such accusations.

 

 

Solicitor slams GMP after further 29 cases against anti-fracking protectors are discontinued | Salford Star

GMP outnumber peaceful protectors at Barton Moss, wasting valuable resources whilst infringing the human right to peacefully protest, March 2014

GMP outnumber peaceful protectors at Barton Moss, wasting valuable resources whilst infringing the human right to peacefully protest, March 2014

GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE ACTED WITHOUT LAWFUL AUTHORITY FOR MONTHS IN SALFORD SAYS SOLICITOR

Barton Moss solicitor, Simon Pook, of Robert Lizar’s, has slammed Greater Manchester Police after a further 29 cases related to alleged offences at the Barton Moss anti-fracking protests were discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service on Monday.

Calling for an Independent Inquiry into Barton Moss policing, Pook says “We cannot permit, in an established democracy, police forces arresting and detaining citizens with the knowledge their actions are themselves unlawful.”

Please click here to continue to original article on SalfordStar.com

23RD BARTON MOSS PROTECTOR ACQUITTED | Salford Star

Today, Joe became the 23rd Barton Moss protector to be cleared by Manchester Magistrates Court as more and more cases are dropped, dismissed or the defendants found not guilty.

Joe was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing a police sergeant in her duty but after video footage was shown in court Joe was acquitted of both charges. The increasing number of cleared Barton Moss defendants puts Greater Manchester Police under more pressure to explain its actions at the Salford anti-fracking protests.

Please click here to read original article on salfordstar.com (link will open in new window).

Barton Moss Protector slams GMP after more charges dropped | Salford Star

Barton Moss protector, Colin Gong, has slated Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service after his charge of obstructing the highway on the Salford anti-fracking protests was dropped this week.

Colin’s was one of 17 charges against Barton Moss protectors that have either been dropped, dismissed or lost in Manchester courts over the last two weeks, with not one protector being found guilty. Now Colin has written an open letter to GMP and the CPS accusing them of an “outrageous and shocking waste of public funds”.

Barton Moss protector, Colin Gong, couldn’t wait for his day in court this week where he was being charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for `wilfully obstructing the highway’ (which subsequently wasn’t deemed a `highway’ by a judge and the charge was subsequently changed to `obstructing a police officer in his duty’) on Barton Moss Road leading up to the IGas exploratory drilling site in Salford.

Video footage, taken at the time of his arrest by Greater Manchester Police (GMP),shows Colin constantly trying to reason with police officers as to why walking down the side of a public footpath was ‘wilfully obstructing the highway’.

What am I obstructing?‘ he asks, ‘What offence am I committing? I’ve been walking down the side of this road for three weeks, what’s changed?

While Colin is still trying to ask such questions he is arrested and taken away. He wanted the footage to be shown in court. He was still looking for an explanation. He wanted a judge to view the footage. But before the case got to court he was informed by his legal representative at Robert Lizar Solicitors that the case against him had been dropped.

Please click here to continue to original article and read Colin’s open letter to GMP and the CPS.

BARTON MOSS PROSECUTIONS IN MELTDOWN AS FIVE MORE CASES DROPPED | Salford Star

SIXTEEN BARTON MOSS CASES LOST OR DROPPED FROM SALFORD ANTI-FRACKING PROTESTS

After another Barton Moss protector was found not guilty in court today, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to proceed with another five cases tomorrow – a decision that Barton Moss Camp solicitor, Simon Pook of Robert Lizars, says is “welcome and correct”.

The failure of the prosecutions against Barton Moss protectors so far led Pook to add: “Our clients fundamental rights to peaceful protest was unlawfully interfered with in a disproportionate manner…”

Please click here to continue to original article on Salford Star’s Website (link will open in new tab).

Peaceful protectors Dan & Tristan both found ‘NOT GUILTY’ of public order offences following unlawful Barton Moss arrests

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Justice prevails: Supporters outside court celebrating the ‘not guilty’
verdicts of Tristan and Dan’s trials

28/4/14: A fantastic day for those involved with the Barton Moss anti-fracking protests, inhabitants of the earth and those who care about the safety and future of their drinking water…

Two of the Barton Moss protectors who were arrested for public order offences, Dan – charged with a Section 4 public order offence and Tristan, charged with a Section 5 public order offence, were both acquitted today at Manchester Magistrates Court. Once again highlighting the fact that saving the planet, despite whatever GMP do or say, is NOT a crime.

VIDEO | Final Walk-out: Local Hero Kevin shows GMP their intimidation doesn’t work!

On day 140 of the Barton Moss anti-fracking awareness campaign, local resident Kevin was determined to let both iGas & the Greater Manchester Police know that their intimidatory tactics are doomed for failure.

Also featuring the infamous Inspector David Keyhoe, let loose on the public after a brief spell away from Barton Moss, despite being under investigation for his ‘unlawful arrest’ of a legal observer whom he accused of drink-driving, falsely stating he had just admitted it to him even though it is evident on the footage that Keyhoe clearly fabricates this on film! The video footage from that day is available here. During the filming of the final walk-out Keyhoe is filmed admitting to the months of accusations from protectors, stating that indeed, GMP ‘are here to intimidate’.

 

Barton Moss: Policing in the absence of democracy

A protector holds a sign with a message for Greater Manchester Police

A protector holds a sign with a message for Greater Manchester Police

Violence has been a running theme within the policing of anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss. Individual officers are acting with impunity. Is this reflective of a policing strategy seeking to disrupt the protests on behalf of vested interests?

On January 14th Dr. Steve Peers, a legal observer at the anti-fracking ‘protectors’ camp at Barton Moss, was filming three police officers arresting a protester. Video he took (click here) shows one of the officers realising they were being filmed, walking up to Steve and pushing him backwards onto the floor. Shortly afterwards another officer walked up to him and jostled him away from the arrest, pushing him down the road. This officer then started repeatedly asking if Steve had been drinking alcohol before aggressively asserting that he had and loudly claiming that Steve had admitted to doing so. Steve was then arrested for refusing to submit to breath test.

Steve does his legal observing with a video camera permanently mounted on a hard-hat that he wears, so it is inconceivable that the officer did not realise he was being filmed as he made this vindictive and wrongful arrest on a totally false charge. This is the strangest part of the whole incident: why was the police officer not concerned that this brazen abuse of power was being caught on camera? Did he really have such confidence in his impunity?

Click here to continue reading (link will open in new window).

MI5, GMP and the battle of Barton Moss | CNN

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“The mindset of violence within Greater Manchester Police has to come from the very top, from Peter Fahy. He must be instructing his officers to use violence against peaceful protesters.” – Dr Steven Peers, legal observer of Barton Moss Protection Camp.

Over 120 arrests have been made so far at the daily Barton Moss anti-fracking protests, and the protester’s solicitor, Simon Pook, feels that Greater Manchester Police is targeting key members of the group: “You can clearly see them being pointed at by the chief officer at the back of the police line, then they are singled out for arrest. The officers walk up to them, take hold of them, pull them to the ground and they’re arrested. But, for what is the arrest?”

Click here to continue to original article (link will open in new window).

A local’s guide to your first time at Barton Moss…

Based on my experiences on the protests at Barton Moss, I have decided to share some advice and information with regards to going down to Barton Moss footpath, in the hope I can offer practical advice to anyone who may be considering going and is interested or concerned about what to expect. Before my first visit down there, I felt much more prepared after being briefed on the logistics of the protest and what I was likely to encounter. It is important to note that despite the harrowing pictures and footage of police violence, not every day is like this. I’m not trying to defend GMP’s actions or suggest that this fact makes the brutality acceptable, but trying to be as honest as I can be. There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ because police tactics vary and therefore so have my experiences, but there are some consistencies I have observed which I feel are relevant to mention.

Students, locals and residents of the camp assemble at the entrance to Barton Moss public footpath holding signs such as ‘Non- Violent Resistance – Gandhi’ – Picture by FFW

Amongst the many reports, videos, and photos of police brutality and aggressive behaviour towards the public by GMP, it is unsurprising that some people who have thought about going down to show their opposition to fracking by way of peaceful protest, are now too scared to. This is an incredible shame and in my opinion it is entirely what Igas, the government, and GMP want – to put fear into the minds of people who are considering how to express their resistance. Petitions, demonstrations, sharing of information on social media, and forming local groups are all important ways to maintain and develop awareness of the issue, but the powers-that-be know that it is peaceful direct action which is most effective at delaying the operations from progressing – this is what costs them money and has a detrimental knock-on effect on profits and shares and the development of the industry. All the while, public knowledge about fracking increases.

The deliveries of equipment/water/radioactive fluids to the Igas site usually take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There are two ‘walk-downs’ – one in the morning, walking the trucks in, and one in the afternoon, walking the trucks out. If you can make it on one of those days, try and get there by at least 8.30am. If you are driving, you can park in the lay-by or even on the footpath itself, there is usually plenty of room if you park on the side of the footpath. You may arrive earlier and find that only a couple of members of the public are waiting at the entrance to Barton Moss road. Depending on what time you arrive, you might see the police presence increasing as the arrival time of the lorries approaches.

The police personnel in blue bibs are ‘Police Liaison Officers’ – these are the ‘smiley faces’ of the police, specially selected for their ability to communicate with people (unlike their TAU colleagues) and they might cheerfully ask you where you are from and what your plans are for that day, especially if they haven’t seen you before. I am wary of them, as they are there for no other reason than to ‘sniff out’ and gain intelligence using their bubbly ‘I’m your best friend’ façade. A bit creepy really. They claim to be all about making sure you are safe, then when it comes to it they are nowhere to be seen when you want to ‘liaise’ with them and ask why they are not reacting to their TAU colleague beating up an innocent person. By all means talk to them; just be wary of the fact that whatever details you tell them, whether it is your age, name, where you are from, your business and information will all be fed back to their superiors. Just like you might not tell a stranger off the street, you don’t have to tell them, or any police, for that matter, anything.

Generally you will see the arrival of TAU (Tactical Aid Unit) vans, and as you look around and see a handful of people, you might wonder why such a presence is required. The TAU police are recognisable by their flat caps, knuckle-weighted gloves, boots and blue trousers. If you see a TAU officer smiling, showing humility, or acting like a human being in any way, do try to get a picture, it could be worth something.

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GMP Tactical Aid Unit – Picture by FFW

You will see the convoy of lorries arrive, and the police (usually the PC’s or ‘bobbies’) will form a line in between the front of the lorry and the group of people. In my experience, the police will then read out something about how you may be liable to be arrested if you do not move as you will be committing an offence of ‘aggravated trespass’. (This used to be a warning of ‘obstructing the highway’ until it was ruled in court that it was indeed a footpath, then the police had to make something else up change it.)

If you happen to get there a bit later, there might still be time for you to catch up with the protest. There will be a police presence at the entrance of the road even after the walk-in has started, but don’t feel you have to stop and explain what you are doing – feel free (because you are) to catch the group up if you’re able to. If a police officer asks you what you are doing you can inform them you’d like to join the protest and if they’re feeling helpful they might assist you in doing so.

So, on with the walk-down…keep in mind that you have the right to utilise this public footpath, whether as a pedestrian or someone participating in a protest, and that there is no law which states a minimum speed limit on a public footpath. The other facts remain – the police are there to facilitate the protest, not determine what it is. It is your human right to peacefully protest. 

A local holds up a sign written in response the the TAU, also referred to as 'Tactical Assault Unit' or 'Thugs Are Us' by members of the protection community

A local holds up a sign written in response the the TAU, also referred to as ‘Tactical Assault Unit’ or ‘Thugs Are Us’ by members of the protection community – FFW

For my own protection, and of those around me, I, along with most others, always have my camera switched on and filming during a walk-down. I know I will not be breaking any laws, and this films any interaction with the police, giving me the protection of valuable evidence should I be accused otherwise. If you witness a police officer assaulting someone, or doing something you see as wrong, make sure you note their collar number either on film or say it out loud for the benefit of the tape. You have every right to film, and so do GMP, so try not to feel too intimidated or worried by their imposing fancy cameras.*

Barton Moss footpath varies in ground surface and there are a number of large potholes in places, so do be careful underfoot. Depending on the tactics that day, the police might periodically shout ‘keep moving please’, perhaps every few seconds. Expect some banter and friendly conversation between some of the police and the public, but you might notice how the atmosphere can change within minutes depending on the individuals there on the day and the tactics employed. For your first time on the walk-down, I recommend you stay near the front of the group of people walking forward and give the police a wide-berth, this way you will be able to see, hear, and get a feel of what is going on, without feeling too ‘caught up in it’ or too much pressure from the police to ‘keep moving’.

If you feel comfortable on the back line, as in, right in front of the police, and you feel any degree of assault on your person, you can inform them that you are indeed moving and if you feel their hands on your back or their feet on the backs of your legs, you can ask them not to kick or push you. I have been told on numerous occasions that if I walk ‘too slowly’ I could be arrested for ‘obstructing a police officer’ – I reply that they are free to walk around me if they wish to.

On some days, if GMP decides we, as in, the public, are being too slow in walking the footpath, the TAU police suddenly join the line. Yes, you read that right. The riot police are deployed to confront those who dare walk a public footpath. This is when it can get ugly. From the moment they join the line it turns from a slow walk-down into a dangerous and hostile situation. There are no guarantees with the TAU, and they have absolutely no qualms in pushing or shoving people, or as sadly proved, much worse. It is almost as if they are robots, with no capability of empathising or communicating with the very public they are supposed to be there to protect. If this is your first time, stay away from them. It is up to you, and your choice, but I thoroughly recommend not giving them the opportunity to use their testosterone-fuelled aggression on you. There is a high chance you will be shocked by their behaviour. They don’t care if you are peaceful, an elderly lady, a child, or if you are walking without stopping. They are out-of-control, and not to be trusted. I could easily sugar-coat the TAU aspect of this situation, in order to not make it seem as bad, but I’d rather anyone going for the first time goes down there equipped with knowledge of the true reality.

It is vital to stay calm and remain peaceful. You have the right to express your dissatisfaction, but do not give them any kind of physical reaction. I have found myself shouting at the police or angrily asking them why they are pushing me when I am continuing to walk and have not stopped, but I have never, and would never, use any kind of physical or violent force towards the police. I have never witnessed anyone else there doing that either. Doing so would land you in big trouble, and give the police a reason to justify their over-the-top and disproportionate presence. As the top of the road approaches, expect to be herded or ‘kettled’ to the side of the footpath. Police will then form a line in front of everyone and spread their arms. The gates then will open and the lorries will speed into the drilling site. GMP’s work is done.

 

A written sign on the footpath at Barton Moss

A written sign on the footpath at Barton Moss – FFW

To summarise – stay peaceful, remain calm, and try not to be intimidated by people in the neon jackets. As long as you are peaceful, you are engaging in non-violent direct action, and that is your protest. Take a camera, whether it is your phone or a digital compact, and flick it on to film whenever you feel it is appropriate to, or as often as you can. Keep your distance from the police and stay aware of what’s going on around you.**

*If you are filming on your smartphone, an app called Bambuser is available. This is used to broadcast footage live and direct to the internet, so nothing is edited and the broadcast can be watched by the online audience. For your first time down there you might want to concentrate on what’s going on rather than filming on your mobile, but maybe consider live-streaming another time as it is invaluable to be able to document the activity in video format and show others exactly what’s going on at that very moment whilst at the same time protecting yourself.

**This is written as a guide based on nothing but my own personal experiences. It is intended to give people an idea of the type of environment and activity to expect. It is not a guarantee of your safety or the behaviour of the police – I encourage you to take my words into consideration but ultimately, go down to Barton Moss and make your mind up for yourself.

GMP sickening assault on mother caught on camera

I am appalled, saddened, and frustrated to yet again have to report on the deplorable behaviour of our local force, Greater Manchester Police. Yesterday, 13 people were arrested during the walk-in on Barton Moss public footpath yesterday. Pictures captured by Salford Star photographer Stephen Speed, show Vanda, a tiny-framed 7 stone mother of four, from Manchester, being pushed into the ground and kneeled on, completely outnumbered by the grown men who surround her. Vanda’s sickening arrest is captured on film and the footage is available to view here. It is disturbing, sinister and upsetting, showing a police officer punching her in the stomach and smashing her head into the floor, as well as applying illegal pressure holds and strangleholds on her.The fact that the officers are behaving in this way in front of cameras and witnesses suggests to me that they are so caught up in their adrenaline/testosterone fuelled power-trip that they don’t care. That, or that their superiors have assured them that however badly they treat members of the public, they will not be held accountable and they will not suffer any consequences. The latter would indicate a desire by GMP to send a strong message to the public: Come down here and you too can feel the full brutal force of our TAU police.

Trying to send such a message would install fear in the minds of local people and deter them not only from exercising their right to protest, but even from standing, watching, or even filming as a legal observer. This would result in iGas being able to fulfil their operations at maximum efficiency, thus fulfilling the corporate and political agenda. To see more pictures of Vanda’s arrest and the original article, please click here.

A TAU officer gnarls at a woman who is being pushed into the ground by him and three other men. Photo by Stephen Speed, Salford Star.

 

Retired teacher & former councillor ‘shocked to the core’ by GMP’s behaviour at Barton Moss | M.E.N

Anne Power, 82
Photo by Steve Allen

Retired teacher Anne Power is an 82-year-old former councillor who lives in Chorlton and regularly goes to the Barton Moss protest camp to show her support. She told the M.E.N. why she believes in the anti-fracking cause – and her views on how she feels GMP has responded to the demonstration. Click here to continue reading (link will open in new window).

 

GMP take brutality to a new level at Barton Moss | FFW

 

Barton Moss protest outside Swinton

I have just returned from Swinton Police station and I’m dismayed at the reports of violence and brutality displayed by the police at Barton Moss today. A number of people were outside the police station in support of the people who found themselves taken into custody in various ‘targeted’ and ‘snatched’ arrests. Having watched the live stream footage from today, available to view here, and even on the short clips shown on the mainstream media channels (BBC & ITV), it is evident that today the policing was taken up another level. TAU (tactical aid unit) police are filmed agressively grabbing and pushing people, all the while not only completely ignoring their human right to peacefully protest, but disregarding any concern for their safety or well being. Might I remind you of the context of this policing – these are riot police who are trained in crowd control and vicious, dangerous situations, totally uncalled for to ‘police’ a peaceful protest where the onlycrime‘ is to slowly walk down a public footpath in front of the lorries headed for the drilling site, in protest to the ecocide being committed on an almost daily basis.

I wasn’t there at the camp today, but have seen the footage of people stopping and sitting down on the ground, in protest to the police’s use of unnecessary force in moving people along. It seemed the police were not interested in negotiating and people were simply threatened with arrest instead. It is wondered if the eruption of police brutality was a ‘retaliation’ from the latest development in the eviction case, in which the residing camp have been given permission to appeal the eviction order and thus affording them more time to actually camp on the site itself.

Today’s events lead yet again to more questions, why is the policing so heavy-handed and violent, who is giving these orders, and how long will GMP keep on giving us example after example of political policing? How much more money are the police prepared to spend on outnumbering the protectors ten-to-one, just to ensure that iGas complete their daily operations? When are people going to wake up to the reality of this situation?

Frustratingly, the issues of GMP draining a huge amount of resources on project Barton Moss, and the subsequent unprovoked violence from police and the number of unlawful arrests increasing, all detract from the real reason the people come down to protest in the first place: the fracking. People want to highlight the dangers and risks of fracking, and slow the process down until iGas and the government listen to concerns and offer full consultation with the public and communities. There is nothing to gain from ‘causing trouble’ or ‘clashing’ with the police…nobody wants that but, it would appear, those pulling the strings at GMP.

It is wondered if GMP want to give a public impression of violence and disorder at Barton Moss, with the intention of ‘scaring off’ people who want to come down not only to protest but even just to observe from a distance. GMP know that the more people who turn up, especially those with cameras, the less they can get away with so easily.

 

Undercover M.E.N reporter speaks of ‘warm and friendly’ protestors and being pushed by police

An undercover reporter speaks of his experience at Barton Moss Community Protection Camp

Downtime at the Barton Moss protest camp feels much like a music festival – tents, acoustic guitars, drums, cups of tea and muddy clothes. The people staying here are friendly and warm – in contrast to the weather which, in Salford in February, is cold enough to make me wish I’d worn another pair of socks under these cheap wellies.

Click here to continue reading (link will open in new window).

 

BARTON MOSS DAY 101 – GMP change tactics in stark contrast to previous heavy approach | FFW

The slow walk-down of the lorries leaving the iGas drilling site was a very different scene from that of the previous day (Thursday 6th March). In stark contrast to scenes which were captured yesterday, GMP today appeared to not feel the need to ‘release’ the TAU (Tactical Aid Unit) police onto the public, or insist on outnumbering the people ten-to-one, instead telling them they would be ‘policed’ by two PLO’s (Police Liason Officers). However, the peaceful walk-down didn’t progress past five minutes before the police-line was deployed behind the members of the public using the footpath.

But unlike yesterday’s officers, who barked orders of ‘KEEP MOVING’ at people who were lawfully utilising the footpath, and physically pushed people along at pace, the police today were a lot more subdued, with members of the public noting how the atmosphere was much calmer and less threatening without the ‘aggressive and excessive’ police presence. Speculation about the reason behind the change of tactics varied. The live-stream audience were also suspicious, with comments such as ‘it’s all mind games’ and ‘not one reason for any officers to push or shout, take note GMP…it’s ‘YOU’ that are causing the problems’ and another who said ‘whatever their tactics are, all they are doing is giving protectors another chance to prove yet again how peaceful they are.’ Others added their comments of praise to the members of the public for the peaceful, obliging slow- walk: ‘Well done protectors for showing GMP how it can be done with no trouble at all’. One resident wondered if their ploy was to encourage people to ‘act up’ in order to justify their ‘disproportionate’ presence.

Speculation on site also included suspicions that the softly-softly approach of GMP was for the benefit of the increase in mainstream media attention this week, which has been surrounding the ongoing eviction court case between protectors who are camping at the side of the footpath, and Peel Holdings. Up to now, GMP and the TAU have been the focus of a lot of negative attention with regards to the policing at Barton Moss as the evidence in videos and footage being made publicly available increases on each walk-down. One woman at the end of the live-stream footage was heard telling the inspector her opinion was that the presence of a ‘documentary crew’ was the reason for the change in tactics.

The cost of policing and ‘facilitating’ the protest since iGas began their operations in mid-November, continues to grow by the day, and some accuse police of of wasting tax-payers money by draining their resources on, what is by and large, a peaceful protest. No one at the site has been arrested for assault or aggression, in comparison to certain members of the police force, whose claims against them of ‘brutality’ and ‘unlawful arrest’ have been captured as evidence both by protectors and legal observers.

 Perhaps there are tactics at work here, or GMP have woken up and started to realise how they are doing themselves no favours to their reputation by insisting on turning up in huge numbers, to swarm and intimidate people, all the while gaining a reputation as corporate security guards, often being referred to as the’ iGas Private Army’. GMP appear to have given the situation a ‘them and us’ dynamic, when really the whole reason the camp has been set up and is visited everyday by local residents, is in protest to the actual issue – the fracking.  Barton Moss Community Protection Camp and its supporters will discover on Monday just how and if GMP tactics change, and are on schedule to find out the judgement of the court case on the same day.

Today the camp stated ‘We will continue to stand our ground and demand our right to walk down a public footpath without assault and harassment.’

SALFORD GRANDMA SPEAKS OUT AGAINST POLICE ABUSE AT BARTON MOSS | Salford Star

Photo by FFW

A grandmother from Salford has urged local people to go to Barton Moss, not to protest, but to see the antics of the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit, following another unnerving day on the anti-fracking protest. ‘My message is…come down for one day, you can stand away from it all, and you will see what is actually going on here, and you will see how people are being hurt every single day for no reason.’ says Gaynor from Irlam. Click here to read full article (link will open in new window).

 

 

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GMP DENY SALFORD RESIDENTS THEIR HUMAN RIGHT TO PROTEST ON A PUBLIC FOOTPATH | SALFORD STAR

 

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Photo by FFW

Greater Manchester Police inspectors this morning denied local residents and anti-fracking campaigners the right to protest on Barton Moss Road, the public footpath used by lorries delivering to the iGas exploratory drilling site. Click here to continue reading (link will open in new window).

BARTON MOSS ‘LOCK ON’ AS GMP PRIORITIES QUESTIONED ONCE AGAIN | SALFORD STAR

 

Sort it out, GMP!

There were more arrests and Greater Manchester Police aggression at Barton Moss today, as a Friends of the Earth Director questioned both Government and police priorities on a visit to the Salford Community Protection Camp site. Click here to continue reading (link will open in new window).

Political policing? GMP use TAU to speed march people down public footpath

It would appear from yesterday’s footage that GMP continue to impede the public’s right to peacefully protest. In order to assist iGas in progressing with their operations at maximum efficiency at the fracking site in Irlam yesterday, members of the public were pushed along the footpath by a strong line of TAU (tactical aid unit) police. People who were filming the activity were filmed being shoved back and a woman was detained at the side of the road, kept there against her will whilst the lorries were assisted down the footpath by GMP.

Based on the hours of video footage recorded at Barton Moss (readily available for viewing on YouTube, Facebook and other social media), it is becoming increasingly evident that GMP appear to be policing the peaceful protest in such a way which fulfils the corporate and government agenda. In a time of money saving, cuts and ‘efficiencies’ within the police force, one wonders why so much of GMP’s resources, money and time are being spent ensuring that the fracking is able to continue without delay, disregarding the rights of the public to peacefully protest in the process.

TAU brought into peaceful line-up in yet another example of political policing at BM

Within seconds of the TAU unit of GMP being substituted for the normal and somewhat more peaceful ‘beat bobbies’, a violent unprovoked arrest is made. You have to hear it to believe it, but weeks after courts ruled that this is a PUBLIC FOOTPATH, the TAU Sergeant can be clearly telling the arrested man that he is under arrest for “obstructing the highway”. This clearly cannot be the case because GMP have been made aware by the COURTS that this is not a highway. The charge will probably be substituted by a charge of “aggravated trespass”, to be dropped at a later date, because you cannot trespass on a footpath. Still, they continue to arrest, and continue to act as private security guards for iGas, wasting police time and resources and spending our money in the process.

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