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Member Of Parliament Among Anti-Fracking Arrests In England

posted 19 Aug 2013, 11:17 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Aug 2013, 11:18 ]

A British member of parliament is among those arrested in scuffles between police and anti-fracking protesters at a drill site in southeast England.

BALCOMBE, ENGLAND, UK (AUGUST 19, 2013) (ITN) -  Police at an anti-fracking camp in rural England arrested at least a dozen protesters on Monday (August 19), including Green Party lawmaker Caroline Lucas.

The arrests were made as a long-running standoff at an oil exploration site turned violent with several protesters seen being carried by police into vans in the village of Balcombe in West Sussex about 35 miles south of London.

Opponents of the drilling process known as 'fracking' have already forced privately owned Cuadrilla Resources to suspend oil drilling at the site.

Meanwhile in London, ant-fracking campaigners staged a sit-in at the building which houses public relations company Bell Pottinger, which counts Cuadrilla among its clients.

They glued their hands to the glass doors and sang chants but were eventually moved and arrested by police.

Campaigners, including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood who visited the Balcombe camp last week, are calling for a public debate on the controversial process of fracking, which involves high pressure liquid being forced deep underground to split shale rock and release gas.

Critics say fracking can trigger small earthquakes and pollute the water supply, while others oppose any oil and gas exploration in picturesque parts of the countryside. They would rather the government invested in renewable energy such as wind power.

Desperate to stimulate a U.S.-style production boom and offset dwindling North Sea oil and gas reserves, Prime Minister David Cameron has come out in favour of fracking as a way to create jobs and lower energy prices.

But many Britons are yet to be convinced and the debate has turned angry in recent weeks.