For Peat's Sake!

On Monday 25th March in the run up to the bank holiday weekend, 100 protesters (including many from Manchester) gathered at a remote site in South Yorkshire to save one of Britain's most beautiful and diverse habitats from its Gro-Bag fate. Easter Bank Holiday is a big weekend for US based multinational Scotts who hold peat extraction rights to Hatfield and Thorne Moors for the next two years, just enough time to devastate the area beyond repair.

On arrival at the peat works, protesters were informed that there was already a Section 14 order in place forbidding any assembly outside of a permitted area. This left the group (accompanied by several children, a wheelchair, musical instruments, a bike and a sound system) no option but to make a run for it across a lumpy muddy field in order to blockade the only route in and out of the works.

The road was successfully blocked and work stopped as no vehicles could enter or leave the site. Protesters played football and cards and were entertained by fire eaters until, several hours on, police moved in using brute force to separate the crowd and drag protesters away from friends, using pressure points to torture those who resisted.

Having collected photographic evidence of a colourful protest and as many of the arrests as we could, a number of us escaped across another field, camera and film intact. Looking back over our shoulders we counted 18 police vans, 4 mounted police, dogs and handlers and at least one helicopter. 38 arrests were made that day, and almost all those arrested were charged.

The protest continued for the rest of the week with backup [protester] forces arriving, as well as arrestees from the previous day returning. Hopefully a few less gro-bags were sent to the shops that weekend and with just two years to go (see, every day that work can be stopped counts for the future of the bogs.

L. Glitter
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