August 2012 - A Week of Blocking Shell
This week Shell have recommenced work, eager to get a move on after the whole TBM-in-a-ditch saga. The Tunnel Boring Machine is still in the Bellanaboy refinery and they haven't made an attempt to move it the last 2km to Aughoose yet. Most of the work seems to be laying a track down from the back of Bellanaboy along the proposed route of the pipeline. So of course we at the solidarity camp have been very busy too:
Tuesday 14th August:
A group of nine protesters got up early in the morning. They had seen that Shell's construction work was starting again at the back of the refinery and at the little compound in coillte forestry. After a failed attempt at occupying this site they returned to the road and in a couple of minutes a truck was occupied. After 20 minutes the gardai arrived and the protesters got down. For the next hour Gardai were kept busy as haulage trucks were blocked repeatedly.
Thursday 16th August:
A group of protesters stopped a convoy first thing in the morning but it had a van full of Shell's Gardai along with it, so that didn't last long. A camp veteran took a group of newbies out for a guided tour of Shell's activities in the area, with occasional stops to block trucks and gates. One protester climbed on top of a concrete mixer that was headed for the Aghoose compound until the Gardai arrived again.
Friday 17th August:
Two groups of protesters left the camp and went in two different directions to block Shell trucks. The first group carried out actions near the main gate of the Shell compound. One protester climbed on top of a truck while two others stopped two lanes of traffic (the truck drivers tried to overtake if both lanes were not blocked). When one protester gave a sandwich to the protester on the truck, the gardai told her she was 'aiding and abetting the overloading of a truck'. At the same time, the second group blocked a large number of trucks near the Aughoose compound. The gardai were spread thin so the protesters were able to keep stopping truck movements for a few hours.
Tuesday the 21st
Protesters were up at the crack of dawn this morning. Through the sun and rain, they stood outside the Aghoose compound. Busloads of workers headed for the compound were stopped, until finally the gardai arrived well over an hour later, to push everyone off the road to let the workers past.