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Protesters posed 'serious threat'

14 April 09 03:46 GMT

The 114 people arrested at a Nottinghamshire school on Monday posed a "serious threat" to a nearby power station, police have claimed.

Officers said some of the protesters have links to climate change groups, but would not name any organisations.

Over 200 officers from five forces were involved in the operation at the Iona School in Sneinton.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said the group were believed to be targeting the Ratcliffe-On-Soar coal-fired plant.

He added: "Information received during the operation indicates that a number of those arrested may be linked to a group of climate change protesters who have set up climate camps.

"This group have previously staged demonstrations at Drax power station in North Yorkshire, Heathrow Airport and Kingsnorth power station in Kent."

'Great news'

The plant at Ratcliffe-On-Soar, which is run by the energy company Eon, has seen protests by environmental campaigners in the past, including members of Eastside Climate Action.

However, speaking on behalf of the group, Bob Andrews said: "We don't know anything about the arrests...

"It wasn't us and we don't know who has been arrested.

"But if people were planning to shut [the plant] down like we tried to do two years ago then that is great news.

"We would fully support people taking safe and responsible action to stop carbon emissions.

"Ratcliffe is the third biggest single source of CO2 in the country; it has got to be closed down if we are serious about climate change."

Meanwhile, the Camp for Climate Action - which has previously protested at Drax, Heathrow, Kingsnorth and the recent G20 Summit in London - refused to comment on the arrests.

A spokeswoman for Eon claimed the power station, which is eight miles south-west of Nottingham, "was the planned target of an organised protest".

She added the company "will be assisting the police with their investigations into what could have been a very dangerous and irresponsible attempt to disrupt an operational power plant".

Loud singing

Police arrested the 114 men and women at the privately-run school shortly after midnight on Monday. No-one from the school has commented.

A police spokesman said a number of items, including bolt-cutters, were found.

Officers from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and British Transport Police took part in the raid.

There were no reported injuries and local residents said handcuffed suspects sang loudly as they were led away.

Susan Lawson, 56, who lives opposite the school, said: "The police said to me 'get in the house and don't come out'.

"Then I saw them bringing people out of the school gates in handcuffs and putting them into vans.

"The vans kept coming back to pick up more of them. Police had big black and yellow bin bags full of something which they took away.

"I was shocked, I couldn't get back to sleep afterwards. It was terrible."


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