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March through Upton in 'show of solidarity' against fracking

Hundreds join J16 protest and walk to Duttons Lane camp on January 16

Defiant demonstrators marched through Upton in a 'show of solidarity' against fracking.

Hundreds gathered to walk to the now-evicted Duttons Lane site for the J16 protest on Saturday (January 16).

Protesters at the camp were removed by bailiffs after a long-running battle on January 12.

Upton councillor Matt Bryan, who was one of nine people arrested during the police operation, said: “Today is just a show of solidarity with the Upton community.

“We have people from Upton and Chester here as well as from anti-fracking groups based much further afield.

Pictures from the J16 demonstration against fracking in Upton on January 16

“The eviction was always going to happen and that was only the first hurdle in our battle really.

“When full-scale planning applications do come in we will be ready for them.”

A huge crowd arrived outside Upton Pavilion before the start of the walk.

More than 400 people had joined the J16 event’s Facebook page, with the event organised since the eviction.

Pictures from the J16 demonstration against fracking in Upton on January 16

The march took the procession on to Wealstone Lane, up Weston Grove and along the A41 before turning on to Duttons Lane.

Beginning at 1.30pm, the ‘carnival-style’ walk with music and chanting took an hour to complete the route.

Police moved ahead of the march to divert traffic away and closed the A41 off as the demonstrators made their way up the road.

Pictures from the J16 demonstration against fracking in Upton on January 16

After arriving at the camp representatives were invited to speak including Phil Whyte, who had spent 18 months living at Duttons Lane.

Related: Upton camp video shows struggle as bailiffs remove woman from roof

He said: “Both the love from inside of the camp and the love from outside the camp has just been immense.

“We are not going to stop fighting.

“We are not giving up any time soon, not just for Upton and not just for the rest of the country.”

Pictures from the J16 demonstration against fracking in Upton on January 16

Activists from Frack Free Coalition groups from as far afield as Brighton, Lancashire and Newcastle joined the march.

Demonstrators returned to the pavilion through Upton Heath via Acres Lane, Caughall Road and Heath Road for live music and a ceilidh.

Cheshire Police were joined by North Wales Police on the ground, with the helicopter circling overhead, and said their priority was to ‘facilitate a peaceful protest’.

Pictures from the J16 demonstration against fracking in Upton on January 16

They said the march had passed without a major incident.

A statement said: “Today’s event in Upton has passed peacefully without significant incident. All roads have now reopened.

“We would like to thank participants for their cooperation, and the community for their patience.”

What do you think of this story? Did you join the march today? Let us know in the comments below.

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