A picture tells a thousand words as they say, but sometimes what they say can be ambiguous.
This image, taken last March at the Barton Moss anti-fracking protest, and chosen by the Huffington Post as one of their images of the year from the Press Association, shows the utter terror in Vanda's eyes as she is arrested for the second time. This second picture, taken a few minutes earlier, shows why. My Press Release for the day gives some context:
Former Happy Monday’s star Bez joined Protectors at Barton Moss today and was witness to some of the most brutal policing yet seen on Barton Moss Lane.
GMP used considerable force in moving Protectors down Barton Moss Lane. Thirteen Protectors were arrested, including 37 year old mother-of-five Vanda Gillett, whose pain can clearly be seen in these images available here from Getty Images.
FFGM does not know why Vanda was arrested as she was not obstructing vehicles at the time. Vanda has previously been assaulted by GMP, as reported in the Manchester Evening News.
There signs today that the increasingly violent tactics were causing disquiet amongst the ranks of GMP. One Police Liaison Officer told a Protectors “we asked the police on site if it was going to be peaceful and they replied, no, we’re going to do our thing”.
Bez’s comments about the day’s events were reported by the Salford Star Newspaper.
Martin Porter said “The press must stop hiding behind a false sense of ‘balance’ and report this. These are not ‘clashes’ or ‘scuffles’, this is violence being used against peaceful protesters with no legal justification.”
Why Greater Manchester Police decided every day to deploy enough riot police to quell a major uprising to a protest by a few dozen peaceful eco-warriors is still a bit of a mystery.
Maybe it was just a police benefit gig, maybe it really was just the Tactical Assistance Unit "doing their thing", but most likely it was an attempt to frighten people away from the blockade and kill off the anti-fracking movement before it got off the ground.
the stoicism of the Protectors for surviving a harsh winter under in a makeshift camp, or the local people who rallied round to support them, or the dangers of fracking or the thousands of people who marched to demand the Labour Party ban this dangerous new fossil fuel.
But perhaps this image tells the story best after all. For we live in a world in which the state allows 'corporate persons' to pollute with impunity but sends the full force of the law against real persons who try to stop them.
Greater Manchester Police traumatised Vanda, but they haven't stopped her campaigning. We need more people like her if the human race is to survive this century.