Power station protest ends with 15 arrests

01:43, Jan 31 2009
PUSH THE BUTTON: Greenpeace protesters invaded a NSW coal fired power plant and managed to stop its main conveyor belt.

Greenpeace activists who chained themselves to a NSW coal-fired power station and painted it with "coal kills" slogans say they are satisfied with the attention their protest attracted.

Police early today arrested 15 protesters at the Munmorah power station, on the state's Central Coast.

Some protesters climbed on the roof of a building and used black paint to daub "coal kills" slogans, while others chained themselves to conveyer belts which feed coal to the plant.

Workers at the plant were evacuated for their safety but operations were not disturbed by the protest, said a spokeswoman for Delta Energy, which operates the plant.

The Munmorah facility was today ranked number 20 in a list of Australia's top carbon dioxide polluters published by Fairfax newspapers, after a survey of 50,000 power stations worldwide.

"Munmorah is one of the oldest and dirtiest in Australia," protest organiser Stephen Campbell said.


"We have taken this action to show that this is exactly the kind of facility we need to be closing to move toward a cleaner energy future."

Officers from the public order and riot squad, rescue squad and general duties arrived at the power plant just before 6am.

Seven men and eight women were arrested, ending the protest about 10.45am (AEDT).

The protesters are expected to be charged later today with trespass and malicious damage offences.

Mr Campbell did not rule out the possibility of protests at other coal-fired plants in the lead up to the November 24 federal election.

"We will be looking at various coal facilities. . . because really that's the message we need to get through," he said.

"We think we've done very well to get the message out to the political parties and general community that Australia is not pulling its weight . . . and we demonstrated what this country needs to do – close these coal-fired power stations and use cleaner energy."

No-one was injured during the protest and Mr Campbell described the action as non-violent.