What to expect when you get there

Lots of people are worried about coming to a demonstration, especially one that has a heavy police presence like Preston New Road. However, it is possible to remain completely safe and have a pleasant day out without any confrontation.

If you spend all your time on the opposite side of the road, you will have turned up and added to the numbers. If you hold a banner you will receive hundreds of honks of support from grateful people passing by. You will have friendly, interesting conversations with community liaison police officers and fellow protestors. There may be visiting musicians, singers, delegates from other countries, politicians, dancers and worshippers from all faith groups who will hold ceremonies or just stand in silence.

Some of the people involved

Among the small crowd that the police constantly surveil is Miranda Cox, a local councillor and, until recently, very much not a protester.

Protest is a new thing for me, but I’ve never seen a more generous bunch of people,” she tells me. “We all have a common cause, even if we do have a different way of approaching it.”

She is middle-aged, cheerful, and kind. She laughed at me shivering in my inappropriately light clothing shortly after I arrived, and told me where to purchase a new layer or two and a hot cup of tea.

She has become what some might call “radicalised”, but is probably better described as fed-up.

She is fed-up of local people being ignored, fed-up of seeing her friends mistreated by police, and fed-up that no matter how many days she returns to the same 25 metres of road, nothing seems to change.

I’m just so cross on so many issues,” she tells me — from the lack of a wheel wash for the trucks leaving the muddy site, to the way the fencing appears to keep inching forwards.

All these regulatory bodies aren’t doing their jobs. They’re not here to see it.”

There are plenty more standing at the side of the road like Miranda.

Jo Bignold, a polite, middle class, middle-aged woman from down the road, offers me a purple anorak as I shiver. “I’m not a protester,” she tells me, holding her placard at waist height.

There is Sarah Jacques, pronounced “Jakes”. She was a Tory voter once. She is currently deputy mayoress of Fylde. Like Miranda and Jo, “protester” comes quite a long way down the list of ways she would have described herself a few months ago. But now she is here regularly, keeping an eye on the police, and trying to stop Cuadrilla.

From DeSmogBlog 2nd May 2017