Green MP Caroline Lucas has appeared in court today charged with blocking a highway and breaching the public order act after being arrested during an anti-fracking protest last year.
Lucas arrived at court this morning along with a crowd of around 100 activists who waved flags, danced, and shouted slogans.
As the court was shown footage of the moment Lucas was arrested, there were gasps and hisses from demonstrators in the public gallery.
DVD footage taken during demonstrations against energy company Cuadrilla in Balcombe, West Sussex, showed Lucas being asked to move from an emergency access entrance where she was sitting arm-in-arm with other protesters.
Despite warnings that she would be arrested, the 53-year-old did not move because she wanted to show solidarity to the other protesters, the trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard.
An officer was heard asking her if there he was anything he could do which would make her move. After she refused she was taken away by police.
Prosecutor Jonathan Edwards told the court a large camp had been formed around the entrance to the drilling site and that people had started locking themselves to each other, gates or vehicles.
He said because of the number of protesters a lot of police officers were drafted in and section 14 of the Public Order Act invoked, which would stop demonstrators blocking access to the site.
But on August 19, 300 demonstrators gathered outside the site meaning the main road had to be closed, the court heard.
The court was told that at 1.10pm a loud hailer was used to read out the section 14 order to protesters and officers then entered the crowd to explain what was required…