Two West Virginia State Police troopers and others stand aboard coal barges near Chelyan on Thursday after the arrests of anti-coal demonstrators who trespassed onto the barges to disrupt river traffic.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Five demonstrators were arrested Thursday after they boarded and then chained themselves to a coal barge at Kanawha River Terminals LLC's Quincy Dock near Chelyan.West Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said the five were charged with trespassing and obstructing law enforcement officers. The demonstrators were affiliated with the anti-mountaintop removal groups Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountain Peoples' Survival, or RAMPS. The incident occurred at about 11 a.m.At about the same time, about 30 other demonstrators blocked a road to a mountaintop removal operation on Cabin Creek. Those people dispersed after police arrived and no arrests were made, Baylous said.Rebecca Loeb, 24, of Maynard, Mass., was among those arrested at the barge.
"These actions against coal transport were taken because the viability and health of mountain communities are being destroyed by mountaintop removal," Loeb said. "The coal and the profits are shipped away, leaving disease and destruction in their wake."