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Fracking firm raps 'direct actions'
The company at the centre of a series of anti-fracking protests has condemned "illegal direct actions" against its staff and operations.
Protesters who oppose the controversial process of extracting shale gas blockaded the headquarters of Cuadrilla while others superglued themselves to a PR company used by the energy firm.
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.
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. Hundreds of campaigners staged noisy protests in Balcombe in the face of a heavy police presence.
In a statement, Cuadrilla said: "Protesters broke into our Lichfield office, harassed our staff and chained themselves to filing cabinets. The police are on site dealing with this. We condemn all illegal direct actions against our people and operations."
The firm insisted that the morale of its staff at various sites is "fine", and they and the teams supporting the company are "doing a magnificent job".
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".
A group of around 20 protesters also demonstrated outside the constituency office of Balcombe MP and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. And hundreds of campaigners gathered for a protest in Balcombe, with a group of activists including several disabled people blocking the entrance to the site.