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Direct action due against fracking
Environmental activists march through Balcombe, West Sussex, as anti fracking demonstrations continue at the Cuadrilla exploratory drilling site
Anti-fracking activists will begin two days of direct action today, triggering a huge security operation again in the West Sussex countryside.
Details about what form the "mass civil disobedience" will take have not been revealed but the aim will be to pile further pressure on energy company Cuadrilla.
As part of the preparation, protesters were given a "matchmaking form" to help link people up into ''action teams'' based on their preferred tactics and interests.
The form asks to what extent each person is willing to risk arrest, how mobile they are and what activities they are most interested in, such as climbing, getting over fences or looking after people. The plans for direct action come a day after more than 1,000 people marched to the exploratory drilling site at the centre of the protests.
Cuadrilla, which has been conducting exploratory oil drilling at the site near Balcombe, temporarily suspended its operation after taking advice from Sussex Police amid fears of unrest during the six-day Reclaim the Power camp, which began on Friday.
At last year's Reclaim the Power camp, organised by No Dash for Gas, West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire was shut down and 21 people were arrested.
Although Cuadrilla is not conducting fracking near Balcombe, and would need to apply for permission, protesters fear the energy firm will go on to do so. Balcombe resident Douglas Wragg said: "Because we have here a travesty of democracy and we've tried every democratic path to use, the only choice we have left is direct action."
Protester Emma Hughes said, "I'm here in solidarity with the community of Balcombe, and I'm here because we can't afford to extract new fossil fuels when climate change is already killing hundreds of thousands of people."
More than 45 arrests have been made since the protests first sprang up on the outskirts of Balcombe three weeks ago. Of those, more than 30 have been charged with a range of offences, including Natalie Hynde, 30, the daughter of the Pretenders' singer Chrissie Hynde.
Police officers from 10 other forces have been drafted in as a large daily security operation has been thrown up to keep the peace. On Friday, Sussex Police disclosed that the policing bill had almost reached £750,000, and that Home Office help was being sought to help with the cost.