GMB calls for police crackdown against anti-frack activists

Pro-fracking service union GMB has written to politicians urging them to ensure that police take a harder line against protesters so that frack company employees don’t get held up on their way to work.

In an apparent total disregarding of the long history of police dirty tactics breaking strikes and picket lines in Britain, as well as numerous reports of police misbehaviour against fracking protesters, GMB sent out a press release explaining its decision to encourage police to behave with impunity:

Nobody should deny people’s right to lawful and peaceful protest but, equally, protesters should not be allowed to prevent workers from getting to and from their jobs just because they disagree that the workers’ employer has decided to legally explore the opportunities that the new onshore shale gas industry brings.

The targeting of supply chain companies like this is reminiscent of tactics used by animal rights extremists.

Police forces across the country have faced intense criticism for their aggressive approach to policing anti-fracking protests, including bullying efforts in which rallies were pushed around and intimidated by a back line of police, and evidence-free arrests, such as this one by a Greater Manchester police officer which was eventually dismissed with the force providing no evidence.

GMB’s own members have been the victims of police impunity in recent years, being placed on construction industry blacklists which senior officers allegedly helped compile between 1993 and 2009. It remains committed to providing services to non-officer police staff however, who have their own section within the union.

Talking to Drill or Drop, Frack Free Lancashire said:

We are perplexed by this new initiative. If protectors are acting outside of the law, then there is already provision for the police and judiciary to take whatever line they feel appropriate within that same law.

If, as we believe, actions taken by protestors relating to companies within Cuadrilla’s supply chain have been lawful then this would appear to be yet another desperate initiative from the usual suspects to create further division within our community and to render legitimate protest even more difficult.

If these bodies really cared for Lancashire they would be better off spending their time lobbying central government to provide funding for the policing of peaceful protests brought on by the imposition of this industry on a local community who said “No!” through their elected council.

The intervention from GMB was timed ahead of, and directly mentions, a major anti-fracking campaign involving two weeks of direct action announced by Reclaim the Power. Break The Chain is aiming to put pressure on at an early stage by targeting supply firms to the industry:

This summer we will resist the fracking companies when they try to get their drills in the ground, but with the movement bigger than ever we’re not going to wait – we’re taking action now to stop it before it starts. We won’t let the frackers move their lorries, equipment and materials into communities where they’re not welcome.

Nott-so fast

In related news, Frack Free Nottinghamshire friends are back at the planning committee stage today for the hearing of the Tinker Lane exploratory drilling application. The group noted:

This decision will be another interesting one to watch particularly for Labour party councillors and the Lib Dem councillor, as their national party policy is to ban fracking. Yet Labour councillors and the Lib Dem councillor voted for the Misson Springs application.

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