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Fracking protests: MP Caroline Lucas ‘did not intend to get arrested’

Lucas was one of 29 people held after protesting in West Sussex and has since been released on bail

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said she did not mean to get arrested at the Balcombe anti-fracking protests, but took a stand because the “government isn’t listening”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said she did not attend the protest to get arrested, adding: “I’ve been campaigning against fracking and doing everything I can to combat climate change all of my political life.”

‘Bigger laws are being broken’

The politician added that she felt joining the protest was the only option left for her as “bigger laws…are being broken in terms of our climate change commitments”.

On ITV’s Daybreak she said that while this type of action is not something she takes lightly, she has already tried “many, many different ways” of raising the issue in parliament.

“I’ve managed to get a debate in Parliament of MPs, I’ve contacted the ministers, we’ve had many, many debates since I’ve been elected,” she said.

Lucas said the government is simply not listening to people in the UK who have been using democratic means to draw attention to the issue. When these democratic means have been exhausted, she said, “it can be legitimate to take non-violent direct action”.

Arrested for protesting against Cuadrilla in Balcombe

The MP was arrested when she joined a crowd of protesters outside of the Balcombe site, where energy company Cuadrilla is carrying out exploratory operations. She was marched away by officers and put into a police van.

Protest group No Dash for Gas, accused the police of responding to the protest in an “extremely aggressive” way. According to the group, police officers charged, shoved and “kettled” those at the protest, including children and disabled people.

The main Balcombe protest camp is to be taken down tomorrow, however, a smaller temporary camp will remain close to where the drilling is taking place.

No Dash for Gas ‘determined to kick Cuardrilla out’

A spokesman for the group said he hopes some of the things people have been learning over the past few days will feed into protest tactics in various locations. For example, while some people might continue camping out, others may take direct action.

“People are determined to stay until they can kick Cuadrilla out,” he added.

The police dispersed hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners who were blocking the B2036 between Balcombe and Cuckfield.

Officers served a Public Order Act notice, warning that the crowd could potentially cause serious damage to property or disrupt community life.

Meanwhile, Cuadrilla has condemned all illegal direct action against its operations after campaigners forced their way into the organisation’s Staffordshire headquarters.

Six activists also glued themselves to the headquarters of Cuadrilla’s PR company, Bell Pottinger, in London.

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