Update: A judge at Preston Combined Court has ruled that Tina will not be sent to jail. Read the full report on drillordrop.com
She's been described as a "modern day Spartacus" for everything she’s done to push back against the fracking industry and help protect the environment for generations to come. So why is that Tina Rothery, a grandmother from Lancashire, could now face prison for all her tireless work?
In August 2014, along with a group of around 25 other Lancashire grandmothers, Tina peacefully occupied land near Blackpool that was earmarked for shale gas exploration.
For three weeks, Tina - with the other nanas, their children and grandchildren - set up camp in the fracking field. Together they handed out free tea and cake to people who passed by and drummed up overwhelming support from the local community. And together they brought vital attention to the dangers of drilling for fracked gas.
When they left, the nanas filmed themselves delivering a letter to the farmer who had rented the field to Cuadrilla, saying they were leaving. But despite filming their clean-up and departure too, Tina ended up in court after the farmer, reported to be funded by fracking firm Cuadrilla, sued for trespass and for the costs of an eviction -- an eviction that never happened as the field was already empty.
Now Tina faces a court order for £55,000 fees -- a huge sum of money which will leave her bankrupt. And the pursuit of one individual for such large costs looks like a deliberate strategy to deter other protesters -- a strategy that cannot be allowed to prevail.
People like Tina should be celebrated for sticking up future generations and for protecting planet, not criminalised and slapped with huge fines. As Tina said herself: “Grandmas camping in a field for three weeks does not warrant £50,000 plus costs."
When Tina appeared in court earlier this year, more than one hundred people turned up at the hearing wearing "I am Tina Rothery" t-shirts. And since then Tina's plight has led to support from places including Australia, America, Thailand, Poland, Spain, Germany and Russia too.
With the next hearing set to take place this Friday, Tina could still face the Christmas period in prison if the legal fees aren't paid. So once again hundreds of people are set to gather in Preston on the morning that Tina's case goes back to court.
Despite all she's gone through over the last two years, Tina continues to show extraordinary bravery. And her no-nonsense campaigning has inspired many of us here at Greenpeace who’ve been privileged to meet her.
"This is not about law or justice,” she said when she spoke at an anti-fracking rally just last month. “It's about the ones with the power, money and expensive lawyers, using our laws against us in court. It is impossible for anyone up against the powerful to be able to afford justice."
Over the next 24 hours, we'll be tweeting our support for Tina. Please join in using the hashtag #IamTinaToo. And if you’re in Lancashire or close by, we urge you to head to the rally in Preston tomorrow morning too. Details on how to attend here.