Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Saturday, 9 August 2008 18:37 UK

Arrests in power station protest

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Hundreds of protesters have been taking part in a march against coal-fired power plants near Kingsnorth power station

Fifty people have been arrested during a day of action at Kingsnorth power station in Kent.

Police said four activists managed to breach the perimeter fence, but they were intercepted inside the grounds of the plant on the Hoo peninsula.

Another four people were arrested trying to launch a boat on the River Medway and 123 campaigners were taken out of the water.

The activists were opposing E.On's plans to build new coal-fired units.

Officers said most of the arrests were for obstruction, but one person was arrested for assaulting a police officer and another for possessing a bladed instrument.

Protesters dressed as pirates
Police said they rescued 123 from the water
Campaigners, who have been stationed one mile from Kingsnorth at the Climate Camp for the past week, had promised to shut the power station down as part of a day of action.

But a spokesman for E.On said it had operated as normal throughout the day.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge said the police operation had been carried out "for the safety of everybody".

"We did have four people go on to the site of the power station but as soon as they got into the site they were arrested," he said.

"Despite our warning about how hazardous and dangerous it was we still had the flotilla take place but nobody got seriously injured or drowned in the river and I am very, very pleased about that."

But protester Harold Cryer said the activists on the river had not been in any danger.

The protest at the gates was good-natured and peaceful
BBC correspondent Ben Ando

On Saturday a group of about 100 campaigners, some carrying drums and banners, marched from the camp to the power station.

Most of the protesters returned to the camp in the afternoon apart from about 20 who created a human chain in front of the site's gates.

BBC correspondent Ben Ando, who spent most of the day at the Kingsnorth site, said: "The protest at the gates was good-natured and peaceful.

"A small hardcore - perhaps around 20 - staged a sit in by the gates and an hour later police officers moved in - arresting those who would not move and carrying them away. "

A spokeswoman for the Climate Camp claimed between 20 to 30 rafts had taken to the River Medway as part of the river protest.

Vow to return

She also said eight kayakers were detained by police when they got close to the station.

Ewa Steckel, one of the 1,500 campaigners who have been at the Climate Camp, said: "It's been great today, but a real victory for us will be when we have conclusively scuppered E.ON's coal-fuelled mania.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge says a number of activists were arrested

"If Hutton gives the green light to this power plant, E.ON can expect to be seeing a lot more of us in the future."

The current Kingsnorth power station is due to close in 2015. E.On wants to replace it with two new coal units, which it claims will be 20% cleaner.

Its proposals, which would see the first new coal-fired power plant being built in the UK for 24 years, have already been approved by Medway Council but the government will make the final decision about the project.

The energy firm said the power station would provide energy for about 1.5 million homes and would be operational by 2012.

Activists have vowed to return to the power plant if the decision to build the new coal-fired station is approved.


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