Socialist Worker

Over 1,000 join protest to say no to fracking

An anti-fracking camp faces eviction despite a big demonstration in its support, reports Katrina Lawrie

Issue No. 2394

An anti-fracking protester on the march in Manchester last Sunday

An anti-fracking protester on the march in Manchester last Sunday (Pic: Mark Krantz)


Over 1,000 people marched through Manchester city centre to protest against fracking at Barton Moss in Eccles, Greater Manchester, last Sunday.

Frack Free Greater Manchester called the march and rally, and it was supported by Manchester Trades Council.

The protesters assembled in Piccadilly Gardens where there was a lively atmosphere of chanting against the Tories.

The majority of people on the demonstration were locals showing their support for Barton Moss Community Protection Camp.

The camp was set up to protest against exploratory drilling by the firm IGas at Barton Moss.

But as Socialist Worker went to press, anti-fracking protesters were facing eviction from the camp.

Landowners Peel Investments were granted a possession order for the land on Monday of this week.

Protesters were told that they would be evicted if they hadn’t left by midday on Tuesday.

Some 200 bailiffs were expected to take part in the clearance of the site.

Activists have been camping there since late November last year. 

According to latest stock exchange valuations, shares in IGas have plummeted since January—losing over 20 percent of their value.

This is undoubtedly to do with the protest camp.

Business

It has caused serious disruption to IGas’ business by delaying lorries arriving and leaving the exploratory drilling site.

Annette Wright, president of Manchester Trades Council, spoke at the rally at the end of Sunday’s march about the tactics used by Barton Moss protesters.

She said each morning and afternoon protesters walk slowly in front of the lorries entering and leaving the drilling site.

This holds them up and hits IGas’ profits. 

Annette said this was similar to tactics used during a dispute over agency staff and zero hours contracts at Hovis in Wigan last year.  

Striking Hovis workers walked in front of lorries, preventing deliveries of bread to supermarkets on time, which hit bosses’ profits. 

This tactic helped them win their dispute.

Since IGas began construction of a drilling rig in late November dozens of protesters have been arrested. Most arrests relate to walking slowly in front of lorries. 

Annette said, “It is a disgrace that people are effectively being arrested by the police for walking in the wrong place or slowly. 

“We must all walk together to defend that right.”

 IGas has come up against strong opposition from locals. 

In January over 600 people marched in Barton Moss against IGas.

And double the amount of people than were expected turned out on last Sunday’s demo. 

Manchester Evening News recently ran a poll which found that 72 percent of people in Greater Manchester are against fracking.


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