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Swooping for success
Saturday 17 October. 1.03pm. The first tweet comes in on my mobile phone: “The fences are breached. There’s people on top of the coal pile. The Swoop is go!”
Having driven from the west coast of Wales, we’re still half a mile down the road from Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, but we can see the helicopter circling. Moments later and the Bike Bloc stream past, bells ringing, clown faces grinning, beat-box booming – this is magic.
Passing the main gate, a throng of protesters applaud as poetry and prose is aired, stirring our energies. Graffitti on the entrance sign says it all: “E.ON F-off! Today we have the power.” 3pm: we swoop again. Protesters on fences dance above police hands and angry batons. Banners are hung and hundreds stand grid-locked with police, facing-off for the future.
Emotions run high but we hold fast, bodies bound together, gaining strength from the knowledge that companies like E.ON will soon no longer be able to afford the cost of securing their filthy coal power-plants.
A week of successive victories, from Kingsnorth to Heathrow, has given us confidence that mass action works; that fossil fuels and climate criminals will no longer be tolerated. Another future is not just possible, something disconnected and remote, we are making it here and now, today.
Amidst the muddle of news stories, and although the TV ran our story after Gordon Brown’s favourite biscuit, we are the real headline: ordinary people putting their bodies on the line – without the defence of riot gear and snapping dogs – just ourselves and our faith in one another.
UK Camp for Climate Action: www.climatecamp.org.uk/