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Balcombe Anti-Fracking Protesters Acquitted

The first mass trial of Balcombe anti-fracking activists has ended today (08/01/14) with acquittals all round.

Eleven activists were charged with obstructing the highway, with one of them also being charged with 'assault police'. The three day trial at Brighton magistrates saw a solidarity demo outside on the first day and a public gallery packed with supporters throughout.

The protesters were basically charged with wilfully sitting on a log in front of the main gate to Cuadrilla's fracking site. The assault police charge stemmed from nothing more serious than a spilled cup of tea. After three hours the cops used pressure point techniques to move the log-sitters.

Police originally charged the protesters under Trade Union legislation but charges were later amended. They were bailed away from the whole of the parish of Balcombe – an area of around a hundred square miles around the site.

The District Judge delivering the verdict said the the prosecution had failed to prove their case.

One defendant told SchNEWS “We're all really happy … fingers crossed for everyone else. It was a successful blockade, we did stop the trucks on the day”

Altogether Sussex Police made well over 100 arrests during the Balcombe campaign and there will be many more trials to come.


For more on the resistance to fracking keep updated at http://frack-off.org.uk/

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