Mavis McDuff 29 January 2014-Barton Moss Visitor

I have just returned from Barton Moss and once again am in awe of the protectors who remain on site week after week. The moss is wet through, the rain is often lashing down in a horizontal direction and the cold is draining. Most people sleep under canvas and try to keep themselves as warm as possible. In the large dark kitchen which is also under canvas people heat water in gas boilers to wash pots and pans and others chop vegetables to make nutritious soups and other dishes to keep body and soul together. With so many people in and out of the camp constantly, and in these conditions, keeping the kitchen area organised and tidy is a full time job in itself. Local people donate food, wood and water and without their help it would be very difficult to look after the protectors daily needs. The days are full of the work it takes to survive, keeping fires burning, fetching wood, cleaning toilets, and keeping the area tidy often in driving wind and rain. Most of the protectors who have made barton moss camp their home, have no income at all, they have opted out of the benefit system and work selflessly every day to protect the environment for every one of us for nothing. They have sacrificed the comforts many of us take for granted and rely totally on the generosity of mainly local people and businesses who recognise the bravery and courage of these heros who are attempting to prevent the poisoning of their land, air and water supplies. As if all that were not enough for anyone to deal with, twice a day the camp is invaded by an army of trained thugs known as the TAU (Tactical Assaut Unit) masquerading as police who are sent in by the (generally known to be) corrupt Greater Manchester Police force. A convoy of lorries comes through every morning down the public footpath to the gates of the drilling rig, carrying tankers of many different hazardous chemicals which are injected into the ground during the drilling process, and at the same time pollute the earth, air and water supplies. The protectors aim is to prevent these chemicals and toxic materials reaching the site. So the TAU whose remit seems to be to totally disregard the law and assault innocent people at will, line the route directly in front of the protectors homes, ie their tents and living areas. The protectors who are able due to their depleted health caused by their living conditions and many of those who are not along with many local people congregate at the top of the leafy lane of the footpath and several of the toughest thugs line up behind them and force them to start walking. They do this by shouting and threatening people, pushing people, digging their knuckles into peoples spines and twisting them and basically inciting fear and terror into people who know that if they dont comply they are very likely to be severely assaulted, have their feet kicked from under them, get punched, kicked, have their faces rammed into the road and then be parceled into a van and locked up in a police station for several hours at the mercy of the corrupt GMP. They are then brought before the magistrates on feeble charges, such as obstructing the highway (the track is not a highway it is a footpath) which are invariably is thrown out of court with no case to answer. People are bailed until the hearing with conditions that they may not set foot on the footpath to return to their homes on the moss, which for many is the only home they currently have. The magistrates court has had an immense amount of time and money wasted with bail hearings, where they have removed all bail conditions placed on protectors by the GMP. It seems that the logic behind the frequent arrests and unnreasonable bail conditions applied by the GMP is to deplete the numbers of protectors at the site forcing the protectors efforts to collapse. Many people come and go at the site from all walks of life but many can not be as involved as they would like to be due to work and other commitments or even downright fear. The courage and self sacrifice of those who have made it their lifes work to protect us and our earth is remarkable and can only be greatly applauded. To live with this stress and fear twice every day, of the possibility of this scenario happening to you is emotionally nerve wracking and leading to stress related illness in people. Local people who attend are often elderly and opt to walk behind the younger protectors, in the hope that they can protect them from the very violent assaults which happen. Having spoken to many local people, who attend the regular Sunday marches, it seems there would be many more assisting at the protector site, but because they already know the brutality of their local police, (the corrupt GMP), they dare not. When court appearances are necessary many protectors make their way into Manchester city centre and wait with people who are on charges all day in order to offer support to each other. Furthermore there is a small camp in front of the Civic building adjacent to Swinton Police Station and protectors gather inside and outside of the police station when they have people in custody again to offer as much support to people who have suffered assaults and unlawful arrests by the thugs in the TAU. I hope this gives some idea of a day in the life of our heroic protectors and if any minor indiscretion is sensationalised by the mainstream media, who are also in the pay of the large corporations, as are the GMP in the pay of Igas, or if any protector is provoked so severely by these thugs that they lose it a little and maybe raise there voice or even swear, just ask yourself could you put yourself in their position, would you live out on the moss for the sake of your neighbours children and your own children and even for the sake of the peoples children who are assaulting you, to ensure you have clean agriculture, clean air and CLEAN WATER to drink. To my good friends on the moss you have my ultimate love and respect and thanks. Keep safe, keep warm and may the universe provide abundance for you.

Mavis posted on Facebook page Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss this morning to air her views about what was happening as she saw it, the eyes of a local woman, supporting the campaign.

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