Sunday, September 2, 2007

Police arrest power station protesters

Nick Sheridan at Loy Yang
The Age, Melbourne Australia

Police cut free and arrested two protesters who disrupted supplies at the Loy Yang power station in Gippsland's Latrobe Valley in the state's east this morning, in a protest aimed at APEC leaders.

Four protesters from Real Action on Climate Change chained themselves to two conveyor belts at the power station, which supplies a third of Victoria's electricity, about 5.30am.

The protest stopped one of the conveyor belts transporting coal to one of the plant's four 600 watt generators, which provides effectively 25 per cent of its power.

"All I know is that they are in Tower A and they are chained up to conveyor belts and as a result the power station has had to lock down as a result of safety (concerns)," a Victoria Police spokesman said.

Police search and rescue officers cut two of the protesters free about 10am before leading them out of the plant. They were taken to Traralgon for questioning.

The protesters carried a sign bearing the words "This is real action on climate change" as they were led from the station.

Search and rescue police say they will cut the other two protesters free from a second, inactive conveyor belt at the station.

The protest is not expected to affect electricity supplies to Victorian customers.

A spokesman for the power station said emergency procedures were activated during the protest.

Loy Yang Power owns and operates a 2000 megawatt power station and an adjoining brown coal mine.

A spokeswoman for the activists, Michaela Stubbs, said the action was intended to send a message to APEC leaders meeting in Sydney this week.

"The Asia Pacific Economic Forum is simply failing when it comes when it comes to stopping climate change," Ms Stubbs said.

"What we want to see is strong, short-term greenhouse gas emission targets."

"APEC is talking about non-committed aspirational targets and this is inadequate to address the problem."

with Sarah-Jane Collins and Reko Rennie

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