The Muswellbrook Local Court today was crammed with activists. In the largest single court appearance for an Australian climate protest 73 people faced trespass charges for a mass civil disobedience protest on December 5, 2010. They were each fined $250 by the court.
"The magistrate delivered the lowest possible fine within this charge after hearing about the outstanding character of the defendants and their genuine concern about the impacts of climate change on their communities," said Naomi Hogan, Newcastle resident.
The protest in December was part of a climate camp highlighting the proposed new Bayswater B coal-fired power station and its carbon emissions contributing to global warming and climate change.
130 people occupied a rail line to the existing Bayswater coal fired power station with 73 arrested and charged with trespass. The arrestees include business people, social workers, teachers, school students, government workers, retired coal miners, 88 year old Kokoda veteran Bill Ryan and many people from the Hunter Valley area.
"I stand by my actions today," said Bill. Ryan "If the Bayswater expansion goes ahead as planned it will double its carbon pollution. Climate change is an urgent issue and I need to ensure that there is a liveable planet for my grandchildren."
The lawyer, Sue Higginson, conveyed the peaceful nature of the protest and how people were motivated by their very real concerns about climate change, Australia's expanding coal industry and the negative impacts of coal in the Hunter Valley.
* Adapted from Camp for Climate Action media release, Jan 31, 2011 - 73 people fined in largest court appearance for a climate protest
* Indymedia, Dec 6, 2010 - Mass arrests disrupt coal supply at Bayswater, Keneally given ultimatum on coal
* Youtube video - Climate Camp 2010 - Community direct action to say no to Bayswater B