Over eight hundred people took part in a Solidarity Day with campaigners at the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp this afternoon. The Day began with a march from Salford City Stadium (or AJ Bell as it's now known), along Liverpool Road to Barton Moss Road, where, at a rally, Salford City UNISON branch secretary Steve North derided the national press over its coverage of the Camp…
"I want to address this myth that's been propagated in the media, that this opposition is something that has been thrust on the people of Salford from elsewhere" he said "I've lived in this city all my life, I'm proud to represent people who work for Salford Council and we are 100% behind what's going on here in terms of this resistance, absolutely 100%.
"You have our absolute solidarity and I'm looking forward to standing with people on Wednesday morning outside Salford Civic centre" he added, referring to the protest planned by anti-fracking campaigners and Salford City UNISON members outside Salford Civic Centre*.
"Me and my comrades in the UNISON branch will be taking the message to our Council against the cuts that were announced last week, and against the appointment of a Head of Paid Service on £150,000 on the same day as 300 people were to lose their jobs" he explained "It's all part of the same thing. It's about the world that they want, that is built around profit, that is built around greed, that is built around no possible future for ordinary people. That's what we're standing up for today and that's what we'll be standing up for on Wednesday morning, arm in arm, environmentalists, trade unionists…anyone who is interested in a better future for our children. Our Council in Salford is offering no real resistance to this…"
Steve North's sentiments were underlined by Karen Reissmann from UNISON Bolton, Salford and Trafford Mental Health branch, who offered solidarity on behalf of local health workers…
"Every day we come across victims of the pollution and the corruption that comes from the way that the oil and petrochemical industry has dominated the whole world" she said "We see the victims of it. People in Salford who die 18 years younger than they would if they lived in Kensington and Chelsea because of the pollution that we put up with every day of our lives.
"I think this Camp is about the picture that says we don't want a world that pollutes our children, that pollutes us, that doesn't take our lives seriously" she added "And I think it's an absolute crime what the police are getting up to in Britain… We should have a right to protest, a right to stand here and a right to protect the world for our children. Greater Manchester Police should frack off along with IGas…"
Alongside UNISON, the University of Salford was represented by their UCU branch, Salford District Trades Council was also present, as was Salford Against The Cuts, while many local people who made their own anti-fracking placards. There were also representatives from an array of environmental groups, from the Green Party to the Campaign Against Climate Change, and from anti-fracking groups from as far away as South Wales.
Messages of support were also read out from people campaigning against fracking all over Europe – from Romania to Holland. And, locally, the message came loud and clear from passing motorists on Liverpool Road that they support the campaign, with constantly tooting horns and people opening their car windows to put their thumbs up and applaud anti-frackers who lined both sides of the road.
After the rally, there was a march past the Barton Moss Camp and up to the gates of the IGas exploratory drilling site, where Darren Nesbit once again entertained the crowd with songs, including what has become the Camp anthem `We Are The 99%'.
Today's march and rally came in the wake of news that Total, the French oil company, is about to invest in fracking ventures in the UK (fracking is banned in France), and the day before an expected Government announcement that fracking companies are to get business rate relief on their activities.
* Protest At Salford Council
Wednesday 15th January between 8am and 9:15am outside the Civic Centre on Chorley Road, Swinton, prior to a meeting of the Full Council.
• A protest against Salford Mayor Ian Stewart's appointment of the £150,000 Fat Cat Head of Paid Service.
• A protest against Salford Council's lack of support for the anti-fracking campaign
For further details see the Facebook event page – click here - or previous Salford Star article – click here
See also: Salford Precinct shows support for Barton Moss Camp - click here