Condemn Police for Criminalizing Peaceful Protests


Target: West Sussex County Council

Goal: Tell local government officials that the unlawful crackdown on peaceful protests will not be tolerated

A peaceful gathering held in the village of Balcombe last summer to protest fracking resulted in the arrest of 126 people by West Sussex police. One man was arrested as he lead the protestors in a song. Out of the 126 arrests made during the protest, only 29 convictions were upheld. This clearly indicates that the police were arresting people who had committed no crime merely for the purpose of ending a peaceful protest. Please take action to tell the local government in West Sussex, England that unlawful crackdown on peaceful protests will not be tolerated.

The demonstration was being held to protest fracking by the energy firm Cuadrilla. Fracking is a controversial method of extracting natural gas, which can have serious consequences for the environment, including contamination of the local water supply.

Many of the protestors believe that this police crackdown could be a sign of what’s to come in police handling of future anti-fracking protests. It seems as if the police were arresting people first and asking questions later in order to protect the interests of the energy industry. Lydia Dagostino, the defense attorney representing the majority of the protestors stated, “Who knows if there was some kind of directive given about how they tackled this. It was almost like they said ‘we are going to arrest people and justify it later.”

The police crackdown on peaceful protestors that occurred in Balcombe, England last summer was a violation of the right to peaceful demonstration. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that so few of those who were arrested were actually convicted. Please sign this petition to tell the local government in West Sussex, England that the use of the police force to crackdown on lawful protests will not be tolerated.


Dear West Sussex County Council,

Last summer’s arrest of 126 peaceful demonstrators at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe was a clear misuse of the Sussex police force and a violation of the citizens’ right to peaceful protest. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that only 29 of those arrested were convicted of any wrong doing. The Sussex police force used unlawful methods to end a protest in order to protect the interests of the energy industry.

This type of draconian behavior should not be tolerated. These tactics have no place in England. I encourage your council to instruct the police force to refrain from the type of illegal crackdown on public protest in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dave Conner via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. paula eaton says:

    What happened to the first amendment?

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