Climate change activists in Australia stop coal train, 50 accused

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Fifty climate change campaigners have been charged with unlawful protests near Australia’s largest coal export port on Sunday after protesters climbed onto a coal train.

New South Wales State Police said 47 activists had been charged with “offences in the railway corridor”, two for malicious damage and one for assaulting a security guard in connection with “unlawful protest activity” near Newcastle Harbour, some 170 km ( 105 miles) away. from the state capital of Sydney.

Climate activist group Rising Tide, which claimed responsibility for the protest, said arrests were made as people “occupyed the train”.

“Twenty of the group boarded the train and used shovels to unload coal from the loaded wagons,” a statement said. Police said 14 activists climbed onto a wagon in a railway corridor in the suburb of Sandgate.

Climate change is a contentious issue in Australia, the world’s largest exporter of coal.

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The centre-left Labor government does not support banning all new fossil fuel projects. She sees the “safeguard” reform laws as key to her pledge to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 in a country that is one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita.

The Port of Newcastle is the largest bulk port on Australia’s east coast, according to the New South Wales government, and the country’s largest terminal for coal exports.

The protest group posted a picture on Twitter showing demonstrators in front of and on a coal train. A banner on the train read “‘Survival Guide for Humanity’: no ​​new coal”.

The group tweeted that they had “stopped coal at the port” and called on the Labor Party to “cancel all new coal projects immediately”.

A Port of Newcastle spokesman said shipping operations were normal on Sunday.

(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; Editing by William Mallard)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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