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Activism

UK Police Arrest 114 Activists For Planning Coal Plant Protest

In a demonstration of increased surveillance on protest groups in Britain, police arrested 114 people for alleged conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass at a coal-fired power plant.

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Huh? What kind of protest involves 114 people “conspiring” to enter and vandalize a power plant? Sounds like a few dozen were involved in logistics, and the rest had volunteered to go along for the ride. Does their willingness to participate really constitute conspiratory thought?

It’s unclear what action was planned, but previous non-violent protests against coal-fired plants in England have resulted in minimal damage. If these activists were planning something more severe (like actually disabling the plant or destroying equipment with explosives), you’d think the charges would be more severe.

What if one of these 114 people decided to back out at the last minute from their volunteer role in the protest? This broad-based arrest policy, where anyone who is even remotely involved in an action is a target, is heavy-handed and brutish.

The arrests come a month after the Guardian exposed a police activist spying program which has collected data on non-violent protest groups for the past seven years.

Photo Credit: waddie on Flickr under Creative Commons license.




3 comments
  1. Engineer

    It’s hardly surprising that activists feel strongly about the consequences of generating energy by burning coal – if you learn the facts about how much coal is consumed.

    This is what I have found:

    “So how much coal does a coal plant actually use in, for example, a day?

    Well, your standard-issue, moderately large sized coal plant might be about 700-1000 megawatts of power output. Under full load the amount it would burn in a day could be as much as 40,000+ tons of coal. If it’s low-demand season and the plant is just operating at a minimal capacity, it might be around 10,000-20,000 tons of coal. 10,000 tons of coal is about the capacity of a mile-long coal-hauling fright train. So during high demand, you would have about four or five of these unloading at the plant. Even with the automated unloading equipment, this means the cars are being dumped nearly continuously. If coal is delivered by barge, it could get by with one large shipment every day or two. On the larger end, this is is Jänschwalde Power Station in Germany, not far from the border with Poland. This 3 gigawatt power plant is one of the largest in europe and the 25th largest in the world. It’s also the third largest coal-fired power plant in Germany and in the top ten for Europe. It consumes up to 80,000 tons of coal when operating at full capacity, PER DAY.”

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