Skip to content or view screen version

Anti-Fracking Protesters deny attacking a Police Helicopter

A | 07.01.2014 19:07 | Energy Crisis | Liverpool

The anti-fracking protest camp at Barton Moss in Manchester was yesterday (06/01/2014) overun by Greater Manchester police who have alleged that just after midnight (04/01/2014) a flare was fired at or into the path of a police helicopter landing at nearby Barton Aerodrome. Protesters reject the claim that a flare was fired from the protest site...

The anti-fracking protest camp at Barton Moss in Manchester was yesterday (06/01/2014) overun by Greater Manchester police, who sought to intimidate campaigners and split the growing consensus between protesters and local residents to resist the further destruction of our environment by these money and power hungry capitalists.

GM Police have alleged that a flare was fired at or in to the path of a low flying police helicopter. They have used this to obtain search warrants to 'search' the protesters tents, and to also launch a PR campaign to split the growing relationship between local residents and protesters.

The following is a report from a local 'independent' online news source that includes direct quotes from protesters:

“Barton Moss protesters 'reject absolutely' helicopter flare claim
By Tom Rodgers

Campaigners at Frack Free Greater Manchester say the claim that protesters fired a flare at a police helicopter is a bare-faced lie and an excuse to search tents by Greater Manchester Police.
Police say a flare was fired into the approach path of a police helicopter landing at City Airport Barton in the early hours of Saturday 4 January.

It repeats a similar claim made by GMP on New Year's Eve that someone from the camp fired a flare at a police helicopter.

Ch Supt Roberts continued: "An attack on the police of this nature has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not exploratory drilling is right or wrong.

"Whilst I recognise the genuine concerns of many of the protesters in relation to exploratory drilling, it is obvious that there is also an element of regular protesters from outside the Greater Manchester area who seem more interested in seeking confrontation with the police."

But protesters on site say the claim is bogus and that no flare gun will be found.

Speaking to from Barton Moss Road where three women have this morning chained themselves to concrete blocks, Brian, who has lived in Irlam for four years and has a tent on site, said: "If there has been someone firing 'flares' at helicopters it's probably a local kid with a firework.

"Police have been in and out of tents already - illegally - so this is just their way of searching on their own terms."

Rachel Thompson from Frack Free Greater Manchester told today: "We refute absolutely these claims.

"We've not seen any evidence to prop this up, and until we do, it appears to be an excuse to show the camp in a bad light and to be able to get a warrant to search the camp."

Campaigners pointed out the "outrageous" and "aggressive" tactics employed by Greater Manchester Police throughout the campaign.

Sacha Conway, who is currently living at the camp, denied the claims and said: "No flare was fired from this camp on Saturday or any other day. We would condem any such action as aggressive, violent and in breach of our very strict safe spaces policy. We are peaceful people who wish to stop the destruction of this land by IGas and all of the other fracking companies."

Around 50 anti-fracking protesters are permanently stationed in tents on Barton Moss Road, some 200 yards from the entrance to the coal-bed methane and shale gas test drilling site currently occupied by energy firm IGas.

In recent weeks protests against the drilling have been stepped up, with protesters complaining about multiple arrests at Swinton police station, one man locking himself by the neck to a lorry on Barton Moss Road.

Protesters, or protectors, as they prefer to be known, are campaigning against the likely fracking that will occur in Salford if IGas are successful in finding shale gas during their drilling tests."



Hide the following 4 comments

There was no flare fired

10.01.2014 18:37

Hi all,

The person posting under the name Rachel is a troll and is not the Rachel Thompson mentioned in the article. Unfortunately, anybody can post under any name on here. No flare has ever been fired from Barton Moss Protection Camp and we are now in discussions with lawyers over the actions of Greater Manchester Police.

Frack Free Greater Manchester

(promoted by IMCista -

Frack Free Gtr Manchester
mail e-mail:

look at plebgate for what happens when you get caught lying

13.01.2014 19:21

>> Police have been in and out of tents already - illegally - so this is just their way of searching on their own terms."
Doubtful it was illegal. Police have powers to search without a warrant if they think someone is trying to kill someone else.

>> Rachel Thompson from Frack Free Greater Manchester told today: "We refute absolutely these claims.

>> The sad fact is that quite often legitimate camps can be a magnet for alcoholics, people with severe mental health disorders, people who have no genuine interest in the issues and people who simply think it funny to disrupt other people's hard work
Yep, how true. I can't agree anymore.

>> There are simply too many people who saw it happen to try and claim it was a cop fit up when it wasn't.
Ahhhhh. So it is common practice for protestors to "fit up" cops by lying is it?
No wonder many of the public distruct anything protestors or police say. Bad as each other when it comes to actually telling the truth. All just politics and manipulation.

>> Perhaps before writing the post here you could have consided the effect on the campaign of the negative publicity that will result. The individual considered is no longer with the group so nothing is served giving the media a stck to beat us with.

So they "were" with the group when the flare was fired then? Meaning that it would be a truthful statement to say "a protestor fired a flare at a police helicopter".

>> So Rachel when you were previously quoted as saying "I refute absolutely these claims" were you lying or misquoted ?
Nothing worse than being caught out lying to the public. You need to look no further than the plebgate incident to figure that one out.

>> Please stop talking about this, it does not serve the needs of the protest
Too late. It is going to be talked about whether you like it or not.

>> If you are not a media aware person then find someone who is and funnel press statements and comment through them.
Too late that quotes and statements are out there.

>> It seems that you are contradicting yourself a bit. This may be well intentioned but it will destroy people's trust in you and possibly damage the campaign.
Nothing worse for destroying any trust. People will just read it and go "liar"


For the best

14.01.2014 10:36

In reference to the statement,

"has decided following a meeting yesterday evening to step down from the role. "

This is clearly for the best, good luck with the replacement

Supportive bystander

Police complaint

20.01.2014 10:49

How's that complaint against the police going ?

Must be hard to show they were doing something wrong when it was proven over the weekend that what they alleged was true ?