Sit down protest and site occupation at Rossport August 2007

Date:

The campaign against Shell’s attempts to force a high-powered gas pipeline through the Rossport area of Co. Mayo continues as locals and supporters gather at the site of the proposed refinery at Bellanaboy in the early hours of Friday the 14th.

The morning began with a good turnout – aprox 200 people were outside the gates and blocking trucks by 7.30.

Shell fairly quickly stopped trying to get trucks into the main gate and the protesters remained on a sit down protest. At this point the gardai took a fairly hands off approach and were mainly photographing the crowd.

Shortly before 8.30 somewhere between 70 and 120 people started to go over the fences and were soon on the site. They were accompanied by ‘tactical’ gardai (dressed all in blue, and with the long riot style batons).

Despite the obvious health and safety implications work continued on some parts of the site. A drill was occupied until it ceased work.

At this stage the police started to arrest protesters, they picked individuals off one by one at first, bundling people into vans or otherise removing them from the site. They also started to get quite rough with the protesters. There were approximately 200 cops on the scene at this stage.

Once protester numbers were reduced to 40 or so the cops basically started dragging and pulling people off the site with some brutality.

A number of those arrested were released either outside the gates of the main site or once they reached Belmullet. It is unclear as to whether people have been charged or not.

There is a sit down protest outside the gate once more with 170 - 200 protestors being ringed by a large force of the country's finest.

--- SMS reports sent during day

Text from the site at 9.37; "Huge Garda presence. Protest cordoned off. Riot police here in force."

A hundred people have breached gate 1 at Bellanboy and also the second fence surrounding the terminal and are currently on the site of the proposed refinery.

Text received from the protest:

"They kept the machines going until the last minute, people are standing on a drilling machine, most work stopped, protesters and cops wandering around enormous site".

8,59: " Two arrests, one badly beaten, getting pushed out pretty aggressively'

Text message from the site of proposed refinery reports at 7.30 " good turn out, over 200 so far, no trucks through the main gates and low police presence".

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