Organisers of anti-fracking protest encourage illegal activity by planning two days of civil disobedience.
The campaign group No Dash for Gas handed out forms in Balcombe asking people if they would be prepared to be arrested and whether they would be interested in “getting through/over fences”, “staying invisible” and “getting across rough terrain”.
No Dash For Gas refused to disclose any specific details of their plans for the two days, but other protesters said they expected to see attempts to break into the drilling site. Matt Willer, 25, a history teacher from nearby Cuckfield, West Sussex said: “They might be barging over those fences and trying to attack. From my understanding, that’s what’s going to happen.”
Another protester, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m sure some people will try [to get into the drilling site]. I’m not sure how successful they’ll be. It’s quite heavily fortified.”
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said she planned to be at the protest and said she supported some forms of civil disobedience.
She said: “I think there can be a role for peaceful, non-violent direct action. In principle, I think there are times, as there have been in the fights for the suffragettes or anti-apartheid or many other causes, when there has been a role, particularly when other avenues have been blocked.
“It’s not something that I think anybody should undertake lightly and I don’t think they do, but there can be a role.”
Around 1,000 people were at the protest in Balcombe on Sunday, with 700 taking part in a march from the train station to the drilling site.
Organisers said civil disobedience was planned for today and Tuesday.
Jemima Banks, 27, a spokesman for No Dash for Gas, said: “We’re definitely expecting some direct action and civil disobedience. It’s possible that some people might do something that is against the law.”
Sussex Police have increased the number of officers at the site to 300, and said they would be prepared for attempts to break into the drilling area.
A police spokesman said: “The police are aware that some protesters may wish to get at the site and we are taking that into consideration in our policing operation as well.
“Over the last three weeks we’ve had between 41 and 133 officers up there but obviously that has been significantly increased over this weekend.”