18 People from Bristol and Bath, have been charged under the Malicious Damages Act of 1861 after they blockaded the railtrack which carries coal between the controversial Open cast Mine at Fros y Fran, near Merthyr Tydfil and Aberthaw Power Station on Monday, 26th April 2010
The 18, who are part of the Rising Tide (UK) Network, were held for over 24 hours, and were only allowed a phone call after 11.00 am yesterday (Tuesday). The house of one of those involved was raided by 8 police officers who spent 3 hours searching their home.
It took the combined efforts of British Rail Police and South Wales Police over 8 hours to remove the last of the protesters at 8.10pm on Monday evening.
The law under which they were charged was designed to protect the interests of rail owners has a maximum penalty of life.
However, a spokesperson for the 18 said: “We would not anticipate facing any such penalty as we took great care to ensure the safety of all taking part and had made certain that the coal train would not leave the loading area before the line was blocked.”
“This was a carefully planned action: hence it's success. However, we admit that it was a drastic course of action but even this barely matches the climate crisis we will face if much more radical measures are not taken now.”