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Liveblog: Second day of direct action at Balcombe
This live event has finished
- The second day of direct anti-fracking protest is expected to hit Balcome again today.
- Yesterday, hundreds of activists gathered in the leafy West Sussex village for "peaceful" and "non-violent direct action" against energy firm Caudrilla, who are currently exploratory drilling for shale gas.
- Caroline Lucas was one of 29 people arrested as opponents of the controversial process also blockaded the Lichfield headquarters of Cuadrilla, while others superglued themselves to a PR company used by the energy firm.
- Today, the protest continues. We will have a photographer Liz Finlayson and reporter Gareth Davies on the ground to bring you news of all the action as it happens. Web editor Jo Wadsworth is co-ordinating the coverage from the office.
Gareth and Liz are now back in the office after a quiet day of protest at Balcombe. No Dash for Gas has vowed to continue the protest, but for today, we are winding up our coverage.
From Gareth Davies: "A three-piece folk band has started playing, complete with banjo and dancing children.
"The pensioner is now reeling off conspiracy theories through his megaphone to a gentleman with dreadlocks sat a foot away from him. Absorbing stuff. "
From Argus reporter Gareth Davies: "A pensioner on a magaphone is preaching to police about the dangers of the radios they are using."
More from PA's Ruth Lumley:
Protesters at the site today included Natalie Hynde, daughter of Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, and her partner Simon Medhurst.
The pair appeared, with 12 others, at Crawley Magistrates' Court last week charged under Section 241 of the Trade Union Labour Relations Act for attempting to stop drivers and other workers from accessing the site last month.
Sussex Police tried to stop the protesters from returning to London Road by asking for a bail condition banning them from the parish of Balcombe but magistrates released them all on unconditional bail, allowing them to return to the camp outside Cuadrilla.
Campaigner Grace Blindell, 92, said she had come to show her support.
She said: "It's something we all feel very strongly about.
"There are so many people against it so why is the Government going ahead?
"I feel passionately that we are going the wrong way.
"We have become addicted to fossil fuel. We need three planets and it cannot be done.
"We have got to learn to live in a different and sustainable way. We have got to see ourselves as part of our planet.
"We have got plenty of renewable energy. This whole planet is kept going by the sun, we should use it."
Her friend Tina Wilkinson, from Cambridge, said: "It has been going on in the States for 12 years now and what is showing is that it is not only disruptive, but there is methane leakage and there's radioactive waste.
"The cost to all of us I cannot even imagine."
Argus reporter Gareth Davies says it is much quieter at the site today. He said: "The B2036 London Road is open as usual and there's far less police presence.
"There's still the familiar sound of the bongos drumming, but police now have control of the gate which caused so much disruption yesterday.
"Vehicles are moving freely in and out of the Cuadrilla site as an ice cream van has pitched up. It'll make a killlin today - it's pushing 21C."
'Why we're here': 10-year old Freddie @ #ReclaimThePower, #Balcombe http://t.co/G5Q2NpwPAt via @audioboo #reclaimthepower— @nodashforgas 20 August 2013
Liz FInlayson has sent in this picture of police lined up ready for any action at the site today:
Campaigners protesting against fracking in #Balcombe have complained that the police were “heavy-handed” http://t.co/KgNSiQ8erK— @bluegreentweet 20 August 2013
PA reporter Ruth Lumley reports that two people have been seen being taken away by police from the scene. She writes:
Protester George Barda, 37, said he had seen two people taken away by police so far.
He said: "It seems really shameful that they are trying to give the impression to the world of being democratic when they are now snatching people one by one.
"That's the second snatch I've seen this morning.
"The first one was a 50-year-old yoga teacher and the girl they've just taken is so sweet and lovely."
Protesters were surrounded by officers as they linked arms in front of a second lorry making its way to the gates of the Cuadrilla site.
Despite this, the protest has so far remained peaceful with many demonstrators chatting to police officers.
Campaigners No Dash For Gas said that, although groups of people may protest outside the site, they had no plans for a second day of action.
Ewa Jasiewicz said: "Today we are not taking action.
"We are having meetings and deciding what to do next. But we will be coming back, it is not a sprint, it's a marathon."
PA has just filed this picture of demonstrators slowing down a lorry heading to the Cuadrilla exploratory drilling site in Balcombe.
One of the many evidence gatherers at #Balcombe today, they are aggressive when faced with attempts to block cameras http://t.co/GsPoFlqVfS— @BlackKatz_UK 20 August 2013
Big thanks for all kind comments about #fracking protest yesterday & huge credit to all at #Balcombe for commitment to clean energy future— @CarolineLucas 20 August 2013
Officers still at #Balcombe this morning. Talks with protesters and @CuadrillaUK as we balance right to protest and company's right to work.— @sussex_police 20 August 2013
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