- Engineers blocked from entering tunnelling compound, landfall valve work disrupted.
Yesterday morning 8 campaigners from the Rossport Solidarity Camp blocked workers from entering Shells main work site for the Corrib Pipeline project for 2 hours. A second action later in the day halted work at the Glengad compound, where Shell are expanding their compound to build a landfall valve.
The day started out not so bright but very early & very cold. Everyone was up & out the door of the solidarity house before 6am. We headed down to the Aughoose compound with the intention of stopping the workers & engineers from entering. By 6:30 it was obviously still quite cold and dark when van loads of Shell workers and security personnel approached. With eight campaigners on the road the Corrib project wouldn't start on time that morning.
After about half an hour two Gardaí showed up and gave some directions for the protesters to move out of the way. They were ignored however - the moral authority of the Gardaí in this part of the country is in very low stock since the Gardaí began abusing protesters in 2006
Spirits were high whilst braving the cold as there were only 2 Gardaí, Rape Tape Garda Egan included, milling around in their wee van.
We succeeded for over 2 hours until another jeep with three cops turned up around 8am. Sgt. Dermot Butler was in his normal brutish form, immediately pulling one sitting campaigner by her hair right across the road to let the van load of engineers through.
Five Gardaí in total were present. Garda Hugh Egan was also especially rough with one person whom he put in a choke hold & would not let go even after numerous requests. After a five minute scuffle between activists & cops one person was arrested, taken to Belmullet & released a short time later, charged with Section 8 & 9 of the public order act. He is due in court on Wednesday 12th of December.
We left after 9am and headed back up to the house to do the normal chores & jobs.
At around 2pm we headed to the Glengad site where they hope to build the Landfall Valve Installation & lay the onshore pipeline. We brought down a few tents and sleeping bags with the intention of camping on the fields they are extending their fencing around and going for a snooze - we'd been up since 5 in the morning!
These fields are not owned by Shell - but they are annexing them under dodgy legislation that allows for the CAO (Compulsory Acquisition Order) land for private projects if it is considered "strategic infrastructure" by the government. This is the same law opposed by the Rossport 5 in 2005, that brought the campaign to national and international attention.
In Glengad, Shell had not yet finished fencing off the new fields they are taking over, so occupying it was as easy as walking in.
The four IRM-S security guards we saw as we walked through the surrounding fields scuttled around the couple of diggers that were lying idle, as it was during a lunch break. Then a good number of workers ran towards the equipment before we got there & frantically erected the 2 sections of palisade fencing which was missing after rapidly putting the diggers & vans that were out in open securely back inside the pre-existing compound.
With them all back in their box, and us in the liberated territory, we hung around happy out and informing passing engineers the wrongs of the project.
Unlike previous actions which totally stopped work for the day with just our presence being made, this day was different. They had less of a gap in the fencing to secure and had enough security back up called in to protect it. So after being manhandled onto another section of the field - there was only 4 of us - even more IRM-S arrived. They mobilised themselves along the temporary fencing line & workers opened back up the palisade fencing they had just put up & continued constructing the last section of the permanent fence.
The usual - "This is Shell's Private Property" line from IRMS was replaced with "This is a work site".
After some time we decided to leave but not until we stopped some of the passing private shuttle buses $hells private army use first and giving them a demonstration on how to use a Kelly kettle.
So all in all it was quite a long but very eventful day. As always we have plenty of fresh air in our lungs & that's the way we intend to keep it.