"What we're dealing with here is a police force that is very much acting as the hired help for the corporations" Ian R Crane
Greater Manchester Police came under fire today as the force made five arrests at the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp blockade of lorries heading for the IGas exploratory drilling site on Barton Moss Road.
"It's my opinion that what we've seen today is the police on a mission to make five arrests and they did indeed make five arrests…One of the inspectors was actually overheard saying that `We need to make one more', which would indicate that they had a quota" Barton campaigner Ian R Crane told an iTookYourPic video -see here
Indeed, footage on this video posted on YouTube and titled "Aggressive" Policing at Barton Moss Protection Camp, shows one arrest where the arrestee appears to be doing nothing, while another video shows yet another arrest of someone who appears to have been targeted (see embedded video). With the footage circulating on social media sites the main reaction has been outrage…
"Disgusted"… "Shocked and saddened"… "You cannot arrest someone for walking down a road backwards"… "It is done to intimidate others from joining the demo"…
Many have made formal complaints to Greater Manchester Police and Police Commissioner, Tony Lloyd.
"The front line of the police was very, very different today to anything we've seen previously – they were, non communicative, they were very aggressive they were pushing people forcibly in the back" said Ian R Crane "Policing which, in my opinion, is out of control.
"What I've seen today, and the attitude and behaviour I've seen today" he added "makes me very concerned that what we're dealing with here is a police force that is very much acting as the hired help for the corporations"
Crane called for more local people to join the daily blockades between 10:30 and 1pm at the site.
"There were only about twenty protectors in the front line, the great tragedy is that the local population were conspicuous by their absence" he said "In reality if this campaign is going to succeed the local population is going to have to express its displeasure by coming down to Barton Moss and participating in the blockade.
"Otherwise the reality is that if the police come down with an arrest quota over five or so then, in the space of a few days there's not going to be too many people here and IGas will effectively be awarded their social licence through the apathy of the local population" he added
"The population of Greater Manchester has a very difficult choice to make right now" he explained "Do they simply allow this industry to kick off and just learn to live with the consequences of this whole area, from here right across to the Wirral, becoming an industrial wasteland within the next couple of decades…The land effectively becoming toxic, the water becoming toxic and leaving a legacy for future generations that doesn't bear thinking about…"
The Salford Star asked Greater Manchester Police for a comment on whether the policing today was heavy handed, and if there are arrest quotas in place. So far, GMP hasn't responded.
UPDATE 10th December 4pm - GMP Responds
Greater Manchester Police has now responded to Salford Star questions about yesterday’s arrests. We asked whether the policing was heavy handed and whether there were any quotas for arrests.
GMP stated: “Greater Manchester Police (GMP) respects everyone's democratic right to peacefully protest and officers are monitoring the demonstration and working with partner agencies, in particular Salford Council, to ensure it passes safely.
“Due to the nature of the protest, a proportionate number of police officers are required to ensure the safety of all sections of the public. These officers are drawn from across the Force including specialist departments.
“We are not aware of any complaints being made about police conduct.”
GMP added that five people have been charged following the arrests: Timothy Williams, Alexandra Hart, Hytham Chlouk, and Ian Tushingham were charged with obstructing the highway. Hedar Abid was charged with obstructing the police.
Tim Williams was unconditionally bailed today and the other four will appear before Trafford magistrates on Friday 20 December.
See also previous Salford Star articles...
* Salford Anti Fracking Rally Tells the Labour Party To Get Off The Fence - click here
* Barton Moss Sees GM Police Overkill - click here