Vanda, the mother of four who made headlines last month after her brutal arrest by officers from Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit, was again arrested and beaten at Barton Moss this morning in the full gaze of the media – and Happy Mondays star, Bez, who was on the front line of the anti-fracking protest.
“I got sent to prison for being accused of doing that shit. Three grown men battering a woman on the floor…I’m in shock.” Bez
“It’s a disgrace” he told the Salford Star “A peaceful protest and… to arrest someone, smashing their head on the floor is not right is it? Especially a woman…”
Happy Mondays star, Bez, came to Barton Moss this morning to raise the issues around anti-fracking. Instead he witnessed numerous arrests and yet more brutality from the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit.
From the start of the slow walk in front of lorries delivering to the IGas exploratory drilling site, police were sending snatch squads into the lines of peaceful protectors, with over a dozen arrests along the route.
The final arrest sickened, not just Bez, but everyone present, as Vanda – the mother of four who was brutally dragged across a muddy field in handcuffs last month, injured and left on the floor for 45 minutes waiting for an ambulance (seeprevious Salford Star articles click here and click here) – was not only arrested but beaten. In front of eye witnesses, including the Salford Star reporting team…
Salford Star editor, Stephen Kingston, says…
“As a journalist you try and remain neutral but when you see totally violent and out of control policing you have to speak up. I saw one of the arresting officers repeatedly punch Vanda in the stomach.
“I went around to the other side of the fence to which the police had her pinned and saw blood dripping from her face and absolute fear in her eyes. She was screaming while an officer had his hands around her neck. When Vanda was previously arrested the road was sealed off and our reports had to rely on video footage and photographs. This I saw with my own eyes.
“The amazing thing is that officers did this in the full glare of the media which was there to photograph Bez. It’s almost like they are trying to send a message out that `If you come to a peaceful protest at Barton Moss you too can expect this treatment’.
“And the other amazing thing is that not one single Salford councillor or the Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart has so much as raised a murmur about such events which are happening almost on a daily basis on their doorstep. And these are mainly Labour Party people who would probably have plenty to say about the policing of the miners strike thirty years ago. They should all hang their heads in shame.”
Video of Vanda’s arrest
Salford Star photographer, Steven Speed, adds…
“I was stood next to Vanda when it started. She turned to face the officer stood behind her and said ‘I have been doing this for years and I know exactly how far away from you I need to stand’. She then turned around and within seconds the officers pounced on her. The level of violence shown towards her was horrifying, at one point they were pushing her head into the ground and laughing at her.”
Meanwhile, Bez, who also witnessed Vanda’s arrest, told the Salford Star…
“It’s a disgrace really – a peaceful protest, and to arrest someone in a violating way,smashing their head on the floor is not right is it? Especially a woman. I got sent to prison for being accused of doing that shit. Three grown men battering a woman on the floor? I’m in shock by their actions. I expect more of people who are supposed to be protecting us.
“The Salford Mayor? He’s been silenced not to say anything about it. But people need to turn off the tv. We’ve got to stop the dumbing down and get people awake to what’s happening and to become more aware and add their voice to the protest.
“I would say to people from Salford and everywhere…`If you’ve got the time and can do this sort of thing you should be here…If you can’t get down here there are other ways you can show your support’. It’s not everyone’s job to be on the front line, there’s other things people can do to help along the way…”
And if you are on the front line of peaceful protest in Salford, today the Greater Manchester Police showed where their priorities lie…
Photos by Steven Speed
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