Oil drilling firm Cuadrilla has expressed disappointment as protesters are arrested at the Balcombe campaigning site this afternoon (Friday July 26).
A number of arrests have been made after around 50 people held an all-night stand against the firm.
Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South East, said: “The battle lines are becoming clearer. What’s plain is the government support for fracking, despite the costs to people and their environment. But the authorities aren’t right simply because they have power, if the government isn’t with the people, it’s against them.
“The people arrested today deserve gratitude, not penalties. They are the current day defenders of the land. Government should be supporting the people, not using bully boy tactics to get their way.”
He went on to say: “Many of the people standing up to Cuadrilla in Balcombe are taking part in their first ever protest.
“The fact that so many ordinary people are willing to take direct action against drilling in their area shows the depth of feeling against shale oil and gas extraction.
“These protests will be of great concern to the Tories. This is the new front line in the fight between the protectors of the land v the protectors of private profit.”
He added: “It’s an inspiration to campaigners across the UK and a warning to government.”
Cuadrilla expressed disappointment at the protest.
A spokesperson said: “Cuadrilla is disappointed that the protestors continue to block the site but the main priority is the safety of all those on and near the site, including the protestors and road users.
“We plan to continue the approved activities as soon as reasonably possible.
“Cuadrilla will continue to inform the community of its activities and operate its dedicated community line for residents’ enquiries on 0800 0086 766 and email firstname.lastname@example.org”