Anti-fracking protesters target Shell garage

A small but vocal group of protesters marched to the Settlers Shell petrol station on Beaufort Street around 10.30 on Saturday morning to deliver an ultimatum to the owner of the local franchise.

They said if he did not meet their demands by 8 October 2012, they would initiate a boycott of his business. About 15 members of a university community group known as Sibanye-One Voice Movement, walked from Rhodes University across town through an icy drizzle to hand a letter of demand to a Mr Jordan, who was not on the premises when the group arrived.

The protesters chanted slogans and made speeches in the forecourt of the station while bemused petrol attendants went about their business of filling up tanks and checking the oil of cars that arrived at the station.

The action was organised to protest against the plans of Shell Oil and four other companies to use a method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to exploit gas reserves deep below-ground in the Karoo.

It is believed that fracking could use up vast amounts of water in an area that is already water stressed and that it might cause serious environmental damage. The letter which was to have been delivered to Jordan called upon him to exercise his right to resist the exploration and hydraulic fracturing of the Karoo.

Sibanye, acting in solidarity with the Treasure the Karoo Action Group, Earthlife and several other non-government organisations, demanded that Jordan should forward our message of resistance to Shell Head Office and provide proof of such undertaking. It also demanded that he should engage the wider community of Grahamstown in a public meeting with regards to your stance on the matter.

The protest action was organised as part of Saturday's Global Frackdown which designated last Friday as World Anti-fracking Day.

For more information check: http://www.globalfrackdown.org

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NOT FOR S(H)ALE... Warmly dressed protesters briefly disrupted activities at the local Shell petrol station on Saturday morning. They were protesting against Shell's plans to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to explore the Karoo for gas reserves. Photo: Steven Lang
NOT FOR S(H)ALE... Warmly dressed protesters briefly disrupted activities at the local Shell petrol station on Saturday morning. They were protesting against Shell's plans to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to explore the Karoo for gas reserves. Photo: Steven Lang