Success! UK Fracking Protesters Freed From Jail After Court Revokes Excessive Sentences

They’ve come to be known as the “Frack Free Four.” Last July, Simon Blevins, Richard Loizou, Richard Roberts and Julian Brock were arrested for blocking the entrance to a fracking site near Blackpool, England.

Appalled that the government had approved an application for fracking in their community, several local residents gathered at the site. When a convoy of eight vehicles carrying drilling equipment approached, protesters threw themselves onto the road, bringing the convoy to a halt.

At that point the four men each jumped into one of the lorries and refused to move. They stayed in place for over two days and were supported by other protesters who brought them blankets, food and water.

For this action, Blevins, Roberts and Loizou were sentenced to over a year behind bars. The three men were the first anti-fracking protesters ever to be imprisoned. Brock was put on probation. 

When the Care2 team learned of these excessive sentences, they immediately created a petition demanding that the Court of Appeal throw out the charges.

“These men stood up for what was right and attempted to save their community from the dangers of fracking,” the petition stated. “They should be honored, not punished.”

Success! 

The petition garnered over 46,000 signatures, and on October 17, we learned that the Court of Appeal had quashed the sentences and called them “manifestly excessive.” The three protestors who had been in Preston prison since last month were free to go home.

Congratulations to all the Care2 activists who signed this petition and helped free three men who should never have been imprisoned in the first place.

When Blevins, Roberts and Loizou walked out, they were cheered on by several dozen supporters. Addressing them, Loizou said:

The fracking industry threatens to industrialize our beautiful countryside. It will force famine, flooding and many other disasters on the world’s most vulnerable communities by exacerbating climate change.

Fracking is beginning right now, so there has never been a more critical time to take action. Your planet needs you.

While this was a huge environmental story in the UK, it’s certainly not the first time we’ve heard about attempts to stifle protests.

Care2’s Kevin Mathews recently wrote about the Trump administration’s plan to charge people exercising their right to peacefully protest in places like the National Mall and in front of the White House. Trump has, of course, attacked the rights of protesters before — at one point suggesting that protesting should be illegal

And stifling dissent was exactly what happened on January 20, 2017, when more than 200 people were arrested on the day of President Trump’s inauguration.

Thankfully, charges against 38 defendants were dismissed in July, 2018. And in January, prosecutors dropped charges against more than 100 people. Most recently charges against another 10 defendants were dropped in May.

These people were all arrested even though they were protesting peacefully.

As JoAnn O. from Idaho noted on the petition:

Peaceful protest should be a human right. They care more about the planet than their own freedom, and we should all be grateful that there are still such caring and knowledgeable people out there.

Thank you to the “Frack Free Four,” and congratulations again to the Care2 members who signed the petition.

Do you want to raise awareness about an injustice? Why not follow the lead of the Care2Team and create your own petition? Pretty soon you’ll find the Care2 community signing up to support you!

 

Photo Credit: Frack Free Four support crew

44 comments

Greta L
Greta L29 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Claudia A
Claudia Acostaabout a month ago

Happy for them. Fracking should not exits!

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Ruth R
Ruth Rabout a month ago

Congratulations! Thank You. Freedom of speech is allowed.

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Jeramie D
Jeramie Dabout a month ago

Thanks

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Michael Friedmann
Michael Friedmannabout a month ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Shelly F
Shelly F1 months ago

Thank you!

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Marija M
Marija M1 months ago

Good, tks for sharing.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson1 months ago

Thank you.

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Priscilla L
Priscilla Laybolt1 months ago

Money should not always be the winning choice. People and what happens to them should superceed.

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Leo C
Leo Custer1 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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