Sir: I was at Newbury on Saturday. The fences were not "stormed" by the protesters (report, 13 January). We went to the fence to hang Christmas decorations, and the sheer number of us made it impossible for the police to prevent fence bolts from being undone. My impression was that they didnt try. The security guards did however move in to protect the main work site (quite sensible; it is a dangerous area). They left a digger unprotected, almost asking for trouble.
The site was peacefully occupied for about an hour before there was any real trouble. A highlight for me was when a couple of hundred of us joined hands around Middle Oak and did the hokey cokey.
If the green movement needs leadership, its priority should be to organise such demonstrations so that violence does not occur. It would have helped matters if someone respected within the movement had called for a peaceful withdrawal at about four oclock. It is an irony that the Criminal Justice Act makes such a level of organisation potentially a criminal act.
Oxford Friends of the Earth