Fracking protesters released on appeal
Update: the sentences of all three men have been quashed on appeal as 'manifestly excessive'
“This won’t break us, we will come out stronger. Some may view us as victims, but we refuse to be victimised by this. The real victims will be future generations suffering preventable disasters caused by climate change. Our friends and fellow campaigners outside will continue to fight for a ban on fracking and for a just transition to a renewable and democratically owned energy system” - Roscoe Blevins
In July 2017 a convoy of lorries delivering drilling equipment to the Preston New Road fracking site was spontaneously brought to a halt by protestors. Four men took the opportunity to climb up on top of the cabs of the lorries and between them stayed in occupation for 99 and a half hours, supported by supplies from locals.
On Wednesday 26 September, three of the men were sentenced to prison for this peaceful protest. Roscoe Blevins and Richard Roberts received 16 months immediate custodial sentences. Richard Loizou received 15 months immediate custodial sentences. They can expect to serve half of this time in jail. The rest on licence.
Julian Brock also received 12 months suspended custodial sentence.
The harshness of these sentences can only be seen as a desperate attempt to quell dissent and protest by an industry that faces increasing public resistance. The defendants were not allowed to speak in court about the reasons for their actions.
In fact, their having acted on moral principle was used against them. Sentencing the men, the judge, Robert Altham, said he thought the three men posed a risk of reoffending and could not be rehabilitated as “each of them remains motivated by an unswerving confidence that they are right”. He added: “Even at their trial they felt justified by their actions. Given the disruption caused in this case, only immediate custody can achieve sufficient punishment.”
Support the three who have been jailed
In this article and the video below the imprisoned men speak out on why they took action and why it is so important that the struggle continues.
There is also a petition to the government to protect the right to protest, and to protect space for civil society to oppose the fracking industry - please sign and share!
Trade unionists - sign up to our open letter of support
Take action on fracking
Another way of showing support is to join the fight against fracking, both locally and nationally. As well as restricting protests, the government is trying to override local councils on individual fracking decisions.
Respond to the consultation today (deadline 25 October)