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PREGNANT BARTON MOSS CAMPAIGNER REPLIES TO GMP ON SALFORD ARREST
 

Star date: 23rd December 2013

AS FOUR MORE BARTON MOSS CAMPAIGNERS ARRESTED OPEN LETTER TO POLICE SPELLS IT OUT

As four more arrests of campaigners at Barton Moss took place yesterday, Maria Sanders, the pregnant protector who was arrested at the site's demonstration last week, has written an open letter to Greater Manchester Police.

She was arrested for `threatening behaviour' and responds… "If this officer… is genuinely threatened by a woman who is five months pregnant and at the time walking backwards drinking a cup of lukewarm tea…perhaps he should be undergoing some form of psychological evaluation."

Read full letter here…


Barton Moss Anti Fracking Protest 13th December 2013 Barton Moss Anti Fracking Protest 13th December 2013 Barton Moss Anti Fracking Protest 13th December 2013
Barton Moss Anti Fracking Protest 13th December 2013 Barton Moss Anti Fracking Protest 13th December 2013 Barton Moss Anti Fracking Protest 13th December 2013
click image to enlarge

"Exactly what was he threatened by? Does he have a pathological fear of pregnant women, tea, or more depressingly, intelligent conversation. This man was willing to misuse his considerable authority to remove a young woman for peacefully exercising a basic and vital human right."


To GMP

I am writing to you regarding my treatment by your officers on the 13th and 14th of this month and your handling of the Barton Moss anti-fracking protest, and to voice my sense of injustice at the absurdity of my arrest and subsequent overnight imprisonment for merely exercising my legal right to protest.

To start with I would like to sincerely and publicly express my gratitude to the night officer who showed me firstly the level of respect that we should all show to each other regardless of differing backgrounds, beliefs and position within society. This man then demonstrated his humanity by taking a little time out of what seemed a pretty hectic Friday night to talk to me like a human being. This helped me through what would otherwise have been a much more harrowing experience. I didn't catch your name but thank you.

Barton Moss is the third anti-fracking camp I have attended this year as it's a cause my conscience will not let me ignore. In May I spent a water-logged week in Lancashire where drilling company Cuadrilla first sunk its teeth into the English countryside. I followed their progress though the country to Balcombe in Sussex where the opposition to this poisonous, destructive and corrupt industrialisation of the countryside first gained the national prominence that it so urgently deserves. This was due not least to the well informed creative peaceful protesters being met by overly zealous policing. I would have hoped that the police would have learnt lessons from the three month long camp but after less than twelve hours at Barton Moss I discovered this is sadly not the case.

You are still treating peaceful protesters as criminals. You are still making arrests where no crime has been committed. You have wasted your time, court time, tax payers money, and have caused unnecessary suffering to those you are arresting. At Balcombe a disabled protester had their mobility equipment put in jeopardy by an officer forcing their electric wheelchair out of the way instead of facilitating her right to peacefully protest. At Barton Moss in the process of arresting me you pushed a disabled man out of the way into a ditch breaking his leg. And you are still facilitating these ecocidal maniacs in their daily business without questioning whose interests you are serving.

The force should ask why as a public service it is being used at all our expense (not just monetarily) to drive through the infrastructure of this profound pollution. It is clear that a major national debate is needed. It is not right that companies recklessly driven by desire for huge profits that has many of our mps and members of the House of Lords in positions with conflict of interest should be assisted to risk something as fundamentally important as our drinking water.

Prior to my arrest, my behaviour was no different to the many others I was marching with and if what I was doing was really breaking the law why weren't there many more arrests? Your arrest strategy of 'just pluck a few from the crowd' seems driven by the desire to scare other protesters away from exercising their legal right to protest. My arrest seemed rather arbitrary apart from the testimony of one officer (collar number 11505) to his senior that my behaviour was threatening. This is just absurd to anyone in the vicinity, or if you look at the video footage.

If this officer towering over me with the full authority of the law is genuinely threatened by a woman who is five months pregnant and at the time walking backwards drinking a cup of lukewarm tea, trying to engage him in intelligent conversation, perhaps he should be undergoing some form of psychological evaluation.

Exactly what was he threatened by? Does he have a pathological fear of pregnant women, tea, or more depressingly, intelligent conversation. This man was willing to misuse his considerable authority to remove a young woman for peacefully exercising a basic and vital human right. It appears so often the case the authorities would rather violently remove the messenger than confront the inconvenient truth of the message.

Countless times during the protest the front line police and PLO officers were peddling the same line 'you voted didn't you?' implying the country voted for fracking. Fracking was not mentioned in the 2010 election campaign so how could a vote for the current government constitute an acceptance of fracking. Even if it had been, to suggest that once the country had voted people should simply suspend all democratic activities till the next election irrespective of how our politicians choose to act is just plain daft.

When officers where speaking to those who chose not to vote (1 in the 35% of the electorate that didn't) it was suggested by officers that they should try voting before protesting. I would like to inform those officers that people who protest in the face of injustice have been central to every civilising democratic advance from slavery to the rights of women, to healthcare for all. Protest exposes issues the nation might otherwise be unaware of and when our government is found to be corrupt or simply just horrendously misguided, it is through peaceful protest that we can hold them accountable and ensure the democratic will of the people is actually upheld.

I assume we'd agree the police forces of this nation are there to keep the peace. They are there to protect and serve the people and not simply tools of an oppressive and corrupt regime. I would hope that you could ensure your officers understand why peaceful protest is so crucial to our democracy and stop treating protesters as criminals. We are rather concerned citizens who are very passionate about his vital issue. This is our nations drinking water at risk and it shouldn't be gambled away purely for private profit. What's more according to stark warnings from the scientific community and to reach our countries carbon reduction targets we need to be moving away from fossil fuels not looking for more.

I hope as the beginning of this letter demonstrates I don't think the whole of the police force are ignorant bully boys but there are some bad apples and I feel as a whole your great responsibly to the people of this country is not being fulfilled.

I look forward to your response.
Maria Sanders

See also previous Salford Star article - click here


Main photo by ItookYourPic.com

Ed wrote
at 21:05:17 on 17 August 2014
@Ian are you blind? Did You not watch the Video. Peaceful Protest is what it was and I'm no protester and cant say Ive ever been involved in anything like that. Its clear to see that the Police take the Law into there own hands at every opportunity so cannot expect respect in any shape or form from the Public. There not all the same but when you get a bunch of them doing what they did They are in sighting confrontation and I gotta say I for one would stand and Fight for my Rights by any means necessary and by that I mean if they used force with me I would return the favor. They are here to protect and serve and are PUBLIC SERVANT'S even if they feel they arnt. Be gr8 if the Police follwed the Law but do we have much chance... Well done this Lady :)
 
Ian wrote
at 16:30:56 on 07 January 2014
Only one side of the story, so can't make any conclusion as to the commission (or not) of an offence. I can, however, state that pregnant women can be very threatening indeed. I was in the Salford/Manchester area for over 30 years, and I saw pregnant women rolling around the streets fighting. Obnoxious women do not cease to be obnoxious when pregnant. Indeed, hormonal imbalance can aggravate behaviour, including verbosity. Personally, I would not take my unborn baby to any form of demonstration which might, as they often do, increase risk of harm. Doing so might demonstrate the opposite of archetypical 'woman with child' care and vulnerability.
 
John Hughes wrote
at 09:48:35 on 25 December 2013
Maria may I suggest your excellent letter is also copied to the Manchester police Commissioner; hopefully it will then get the attention it deserves. http://www.gmp.police.uk/content/section.html?readform&s=10CB42D2670E7C8180257A000043A11B PS every one. The Commissioner should always be copied in when complaints about police methods are made.
 
BRIAN BENHAM wrote
at 19:42:10 on 24 December 2013
Think yourself lucky...I London Ian Tomlimson was killed by police for "walking away in a provocative manner".
 
Kenneth Mckelvey wrote
at 10:14:26 on 24 December 2013
If their are no problems with FRACKING why is it that Big Economy's like Germany and France do not want any FRACKING in their CountrysTheir Economy's.are still dependant on vast amounts of oil and gas yet they do not want any FRACKING Is their something the people in the UK have been kept in the dark about/And why so few licences handed in areas where the richest people live in the London and southern county's/ THE thing that worry me personally is the reputation of Gas and Oil Company's after they start working Gulf of Mexico by BP The damage done went into billions?
 
Peter wrote
at 04:51:33 on 24 December 2013
Arrested and incarcerated for walking slowly, wow, what next, will others be charged for 'talking quietly'?
 
Robert Davies wrote
at 04:51:22 on 24 December 2013
Even those who did vote them in were promised the greenest party, remember that one too. Also this coalitions lesser party gave gone back on just about everything they promised. Great letter though by the way
 
Ali wrote
at 04:51:17 on 24 December 2013
Fantastic and inspirational thank you
 
Heather wrote
at 14:44:21 on 23 December 2013
What an eloquent letter! It is good to know that there are people willing to stand up against these companies who put profit ahead of everything else. Just before the testing started we were visited by a company canvessing for views towards fracking. There are many of us Salford residents against this type of activity and the mosslands should be protected for future generations.
 
Michael wrote
at 14:44:15 on 23 December 2013
I find it shocking that this arrest was made in the first place but what has shocked me more is that this Lady was kept in a cell overnight whilst five mths pregnant , i would like to hear the reason as to why Salford Police did this ? this Lady is hardly a terrorist threat now is she? . I have made one visit to the camp at Barton to see for myself and receive some education about fracking, the people there are peaceful and approachable there is no intention of violent protest at all , yes they walk slowly in front of the wagons as a means of protest and that is their right, to arrest people for nothing is showing Salford police up as thugs and creating a bad atmosphere, it is also costing the tax payer money in times of Austerity because i can not believe if video evidence is brought to court those arrested will be found guilty, it is clear they have done nothing wrong at all . At the end of the day the protesters are hurting I Gas not the police the police should not be protecting multi national company's they are there to up hold the law not abuse it , Sadly from what i have seen on one visit they are doing just that .
 
Vince wrote
at 14:43:51 on 23 December 2013
Very well done Maria.. It seems that the policing authorities of most of the western world have adopted these sledgehammer tactics in order to overpower the people and have us bend to their ways.. The problem for the people hiding behind puppet governments is that Not all police personel are blindly following these corrupt "NEW RULES",, The people that animate the uniform are begining to realise that theyr own children will have to live in the world that they helped to create and a positive reaction is beginning within the ranks by way of abandoning uniforms and using logic and reason.. Obviously , There are still the die hard Nazi cops that love dishing it out but i am seeing them being ridiculed and even beaten by people when they have a chance.. The time is coming very soon Maria, When karma will run back up the line of authority and make things balanced.. This is applicable to not only the police, But the whole shithouse we call society.. Its called a consciousness shift.. Quite slow but unstoppable.. Be patient,
 
Angie Spencer wrote
at 14:42:58 on 23 December 2013
Couldn't agree more. It is sickening how these polluting corporations are granted immunity and protection to destroy our environment by governments all over the world, for profit and vested interests, and how ordinary people making a stand against them are treated like hardened criminals. Something just has to change....
 
Anna wrote
at 14:42:47 on 23 December 2013
GMP have handled the whole of this in the wrong way. As a consequence, they have gone down in my opinion dramatically and that's a shame as I have previously worked closely with police through work and I know that there are some genuinely decent officers who do want to protect people. Being bullish and violent towards people who are trying to prevent an environmental disaster, such as we have seen in other countries, is counter productive. A change is needed from the very too and, sadly, for as long as this government prevails, we aren't going yo get that.
 
-Kennethmckelvey wrote
at 14:42:21 on 23 December 2013
Is it a daft question but is it now a crime to protest peacefully? If it is when are the government going to inform the public about it /This lot in power have never been in favour about protests starting with Ban the bomb/ The poll tax/Aldermaston/Greenham common/ etc It appears that to protest against anything that people think is wrong if it interferes the pursuit of money or more powert is just the voices of dissadents
 
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