21st Century Wire
BARTON MOSS – Police were yesterday accused of heavy-handed tactics that left one anti-fracking protester unconscious as tensions at Barton Moss Lane reached new levels.
Only days earlier, the local Salford press reported that the activist campsite on Barton Moss Road was legally declared as a ‘public footpath’ by Manchester District Judge last Thursday (see here). This ruling was pivotal because previously, the GMP had claimed that the footpath was really a ‘highway’ and therefore fracking protesters were obstructing corporate vehicles’ right of way.
In response to the court ruling in favour of the protest camp, more than 80 Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers entered the protestors’ camp yesterday morning to remove demonstrators from Barton Moss Road.
During the brutal police backlash, GMP Tactical Aid Units (TAU) could be seen provide escort for iGas lorries leaving the drilling site.
The court ruling was simply ignored by GMP, who appeared to act as corporate security, rather than a public constabulary.
ROUGHED-UP: GMP in a ‘corporate show of force’.
An unnamed 37-year-old woman from Manchester was taken to hospital suffering from arm and back pains, having passed out while in a head lock. Some of the video footage from this incident can be found here:
Eye witnesses also reported male police officers unbuttoning and partially removing the woman’s trousers to search her while she was unconscious. She will now consider whether the actions against her warrant pressing sexual assault charges against the police officer in question and is seeking legal advice over the incident.
Eye-witness Alina Friedman, 23, from Manchester, said: “She went to the aid of another protester who was being arrested, but was pushed away by police. “Once finished with that arrest they went after her, pushed her to the ground and placed her in a head lock. She was horrifically manhandled, fell unconscious and was convulsing while unconscious. “But instead of seeking medical aid the officers unbuttoned her trousers and partially removed them as part of their search. “Once conscious again, she was denied medical treatment for more than 40 minutes while police prevented ambulances entering the camp area. It was an appalling act of policing to witness.”
Seven people were arrested when Tactical Aid officers broke up peaceful demonstrations to insist protesters leave the proposed gas drilling site.
Solicitor Simon Pook of Robert Lizars Solicitors, who was visiting a client at the site as police moved in, said: “What I saw today at Barton Moss confirmed my greatest fear – a fear the Greater Manchester Police have discarded the European Convention of Human Rights and replaced it with political policing re-enforced with overt aggression”.
“Based on my observations and interactions of Greater Manchester Police. My experience today has given me concern for my own safety. I am firmly of the view that what took place today appears to be political policing in favour of a corporate agenda… I call on Greater Manchester Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to tell the public why.”
Earlier in the day police distributed eviction notices alleged to be from Peel Investments Ltd claiming it owns the public footpath being used by iGas fracking trucks. But last night confusion surrounded the source of the notices, as Peel Investments refused to confirm whether or not it had distributed the plain paper notices.
A spokesperson for the company was unavailable for comment when local media contacted them. Helen Chuntso, 37, from Walkden who is a member of environmental campaign group, Frack Free Greater Manchester, said:
“This piece of paper has not been signed or dated and therefore has no legal basis, so it cannot stand up in court. This is just the latest in a series of dirty tricks. Peaceful protest will continue and it is a human right.”
Alina Friedman added: “Public footpaths take precedent over private property.”
The attempted eviction comes days after a judge ruled other protestors had been wrongfully arrested for obstructing a public highway as Barton Moss Lane is a public foot path.
Response from Greater Manchester Police:
“This would appear to be the latest in a series of extremely serious allegations made by protestors without any substance. “We have had an allegation that a man suffered a broken leg who within days was back and fully mobile on Barton Moss Road, another man alleged a serious assault who has failed to make any complaint which would allow us to verify or challenge his account and on this occasion we are aware of nothing to substantiate such an incredibly serious accusation. The operation is being filmed by both police and protestors and nothing has been seen to corroborate this allegation. “As a legal professional, Mr Pook is aware of the appropriate procedures to lodge a complaint. It is very easy to make general accusations in the media as opposed to providing a documented and formal account in the appropriate manner which can be investigated, verified or indeed challenged on the basis of fact. “Of course, should such an allegation be found to be valid, there will be serious consequences for anyone found culpable. Equally, there would be consequences for anyone found to be providing false information to an investigation. As always, we will thoroughly investigate any allegation where people come forward and provide us with their concerns in the appropriate manner.” (END)
One wonders what passes for ‘substance’ by Britain’s new corporate security force – clearly it’s not video footage they are referring to, as there is plenty of of it, demonstrating numerous transgressions.
One such ‘substantive’ exhibit that clearly depicting one Sgt David Keyhoe lying to an innocent videographer and then telling the same lie to his officer colleagues in a move to frame the victim for a DUI (even though he wasn’t driving), ending in an arrest.
Dr Steven Peers, who was filming the demonstration at Barton Moss in Salford, was arrested for refusing a breath test after the policeman accused him of driving to the site drunk. Peers says he plans to sue Greater Manchester Police – claiming video footage shows an officer lying to detain him on ‘trumped-up’ charges.
We were informed by our readers that this incident was also reported to the IPCC, so for Greater Manchester Police to say that ‘nothing wrong has taken place on their end’, sounds like more internal housekeeping.
Indeed, this is the same Sgt David Kehoe who in 2010, led the Bolton Drugs Unit when PC Phil Berry was arrested on charges of misconduct – a controversy where a sizable cache of seized narcotics happened to go missing, prompting a reshuffle in the department at the time.
One only needs to look at the Hillborough Cover-up to understand to true scope of institutional corruption that runs rife among regional police enclaves.
READ MORE FRACKING NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Fracking Files