On December 12 campaigners from across Europe met in the Avenue de la Grande Armee in Paris to mark out the red lines that world leaders must not cross in negotiating a climate deal. This day was called D12.
Thirty five days later, came J16, otherwise known as 16th January. It was a day of solidarity with Upton community protection camp in Chester, which had been evicted four days earlier. As in Paris, campaigners wore read to represent the red lines that will be crossed if the UK develops a fracking industry.
We joined hundreds of people from across the country, many of them fighting fracking in their own regions. Lancashire, Wales, Somerset and Sussex in particular were well represented. Lancashire brought with them the ‘Cuadzilla’ giant processional puppet and people from Somerset brought their distinctive ‘Don’t Frack the Climate’ red ponchos.
Upton community protection camp was the longest held anti-fracking camp in the country. It was resisting plans by IGAS to drill there in the first half of 2016. Residents living at the camp were evicted on Tuesday 12th January in an operation that involved three police forces and which resulted in 11 arrests.
You can read media coverage of the eviction here
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/12/anti-fracking-protesters-dig-in-as-eviction-battle-starts-in-upton-cheshire and here http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/13/anti-fracking-protesters-defiant-after-eviction-from-upton-camp
On J16 the march proceeded from Upton Park to the site of the camp on Dutton’s Lane. Placards and banners from anti-fracking groups across the country were held high and voices were raised as the people chanted:
From the river to the sea
Upton will be frack free!
At Dutton’s Lane, the signs of the evicted camp were evident: damaged tents, churned up mud and pallets marking shared spaces and facilities. As hundreds of people listened to speakers from across the country, others entered the site and locked on in an act of civil disobedience.
J16 received widespread coverage in local and national media. You can read BBC coverage here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-35333787
There are plenty of photos from the event on the J16 facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/1663358797222285/
It was only when we returned home that we learned that, it wasn’t the only J16 action. On the same day, activists in Salford had blockaded a gas-fired power station under construction in Carrington in solidarity with Upton. Read more here http://www.desmog.uk/2016/01/15/power-protesters-scale-gas-station-chimneys-launch-groundswell-climate-campaign
Many people have spoken of the need for campaigners to increase the pressure on corporations and governments throughout 2016 so that they match the rhetoric of Paris with actions and that both actions and rhetoric are scaled up to match what science demands.
Many of the campaigners involved in J16 are promoting actions to sustain this pressure through the ‘Groundswell’ initiative. www.nodashforgas.org.uk They say:
From blockades at sites of extraction to extending renewable energy co-ops, resisting the cuts, to a culture shift that prioritises those on the front lines, let’s join the dots in 2016 and do more for climate justice in one year than our government’s done in 21.
With J16, it’s started.