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Fracking Protesters Target Cuadrilla Headquarters, Bell Pottinger, Francis Maude's Office

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Anti-fracking protesters have blockaded the headquarters of energy company Cuadrilla and PR firm Bell Pottinger, while others demonstrated outside the constituency office of government minister Francis Maude.

The action at Cuadrilla in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and at PR firm Bell Pottinger in central London comes on the first of two days of "mass civil disobedience" which campaigners have pledged to carry out to highlight their stance against fracking.

A group of around 20 protesters also demonstrated outside the constituency office of Balcombe MP and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude this morning.

A spokeswoman for the protesters said they targeted Maude's office because "he refuses to listen to the concerns of the local people and stand up for their right not have their country destroyed by fracking". The protesters left a 16ft wind turbine blade which said "more wind" outside the office, they said.

Activists are currently taking part in a six-day Reclaim The Power action camp in Balcombe, West Sussex, after Cuadrilla began carrying out exploratory oil drilling at the site.

Campaign group No Dash For Gas said six protesters superglued themselves to the glass door of Bell Pottinger at 8am and deployed reinforced arm tubes to stop anyone else getting inside.

Another activist climbed the High Holborn building and unfurled a banner bearing the words: "Bell Pottinger - fracking liars".

The protest group claims it has obtained a secret recording of a senior public relations officer at the firm admitting that the effect fracking will have on people's energy bills will be "basically insignificant" and said it was playing the recording on a loudspeaker.

Meanwhile, it said 20 protesters shut down the Cuadrilla site in Lichfield by blockading it with their bodies. It said two people inside the building had also hung banners from it saying: "Reclaim the power" and "Power to the people".

cuadrilla

Kerry Fenton, who was one of those taking part in the protest in London, said: "Bell Pottinger has a long history of representing polluters, arms companies and dictators so it's entirely appropriate that Cuadrilla reached out to them when they wanted to sell fracking to the British public.

"Bell Pottinger has been responsible for a sustained campaign of corporate misinformation, but they were caught out by a secret recording that shows they don't even believe their own spin.

"This morning we're stopping their staff reaching their desks in the hope that, for one day at least, Bell Pottinger won't be able to mislead the British public about fracking. In truth it's polluting, expensive and dangerous."

A Bell Pottinger spokesman said the recording being played by No Dash For Gas was not the full one. He said: "Six protesters have blocked a door to the building. The police are in attendance and are dealing with the matter. Our office remains open and our staff are at their desks."

A Cuadrilla spokesman said of the Lichfield protest: "Three protesters have forced their way into our offices. The police are in attendance and are dealing with this matter.

"A small number of protesters are outside the building. Our office remains open."

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