Australia climate activists freeze world`s largest coal port

Oz climate change activists paralysed the world`s largest coal exporting port for five hours by breaking into the site and chaining themselves to machinery.

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2010, 19:21 PM IST

Sydney: Australian climate change
activists paralysed the world`s largest coal exporting port
Sunday for five hours by breaking into the site and chaining
themselves to machinery, officials said.

The protesters, from environmental action group Rising
Tide, sneaked into Newcastle Port north of Sydney before dawn
and attached themselves to loaders
in what they called "an emergency intervention".

"Operations were stopped from dawn through to
mid-morning," a spokesman for the port told a news agency.

"There was a total shutdown for a period of about five
hours, (and) a disruption for a period of about eight hours."

It would be several days before the cost of the
disruption was known, the spokesman said.

Police said seven men and two women had chained
themselves to or suspended themselves from machinery, while
another 32 activists stormed the Port Waratah Coal facility to
occupy a coal stockpile.

"All nine protesters who were tied to the structures
were eventually removed by officers from the Police Rescue
Squad, arrested and taken to Newcastle Police Station," police
said, adding that they had been charged with trespass.

Those who occupied the stockpile were also arrested,
but they were released without charge and are likely to be
fined at a later date. Cranes were used to
move some of the activists.

Rising Tide spokeswoman Annika Dean said that coal
was Australia`s number one contributor to climate change and
the port was used to "export global warming to the world".

"Forty-five ordinary people, of all ages and all
walks of life, have come together today to make a stand for
the future of our planet," she said.

PTI