Green MP Lucas arrested as anti-fracking protests intensify
Activists force way into Cuadrilla’s HQ and glue themselves to railings outside London PR firm
ANTI-FRACKING protesters have stormed the Staffordshire headquarters of the oil company Cuadrilla and blocked a road near its West Sussex exploration site in a sharp escalation of the campaign against the controversial fuel extraction method. Among those arrested in Sussex were the Green MP Caroline Lucas and her son.
Several protesters forced their way into the company's offices in Lichfield today and chained themselves to filing cabinets as a two-day campaign of direct action organised by No Dash for Gas got underway. Police were called to remove the protesters and Cuadrilla issued a statement saying it condemned "all illegal direct actions against our people and operations".
In central London, protesters super-glued themselves to railings outside the offices of Bell Pottinger, Cuadrilla's PR company. Both Cuadrilla and Bell Pottinger insisted that their offices remain open and business is carrying on as usual.
One of the protesters taking part in the action outside Bell Pottinger told the Brighton Argus that the group aimed to stop the PR company's staff reaching their desks "in the hope that, for one day at least, Bell Pottinger won't be able to mislead the British public about fracking. In truth it's polluting, expensive and dangerous."
Meanwhile, more than 200 protesters blocked the B2036 between Balcombe, the West Sussex village at the centre of the current protests, and Cuckfield. Several people were arrested, including Lucas, after warnings from police to clear the road were ignored and clashes broke out.
A spokesperson for the protest group No Dash for Gas told The Guardian that Sussex Police had used unnecessary force.
“This is an outrageously aggressive response to a day of principled civil disobedience," the group said in a statement. "All of our actions have safety, dignity and respect at their core. Cuadrilla and the government were desperate to discredit fracking opponents. We offered them no aggression so they are creating it themselves.”
In response to these accusations, Sussex Police said: “The safety of protesters, site staff and our officers is paramount. Law breakers will be dealt with accordingly”. ·