Hundreds of environmental activists have invaded the UK’s largest opencast coalmine and halted operations across the vast site.
Dressed in red boiler suits, groups of protesters crossed barbed wire fences to gain access to Ffos-y-fran mine near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales. Some chained themselves to machinery, others lay across access roads. Dozens of protesters, joined by local people, also blockaded the entrance to the mine’s headquarters.
The action in Wales marks the start of a global wave of direct action coordinated by the group Reclaim the Power supporting a transition away from fossil fuels in 13 countries including Germany, South Africa, Indonesia and North America over the next two weeks.
Following a weekend of planning, protesters entered the site shortly after dawn on Tuesday. They had widely publicised their action and there was a large police presence including thesouth Wales force’s mounted section but no attempt was made to stop the demonstrators.
Within hours Reclaim the Power said it had brought operations at the mine to a standstill. Nine people, including an 80-year-old from Penarth and members of Christian Climate Action, were locked to each other, blocking road access to the mine.
Hannah Smith, on site at the action, said: “Today we’ve shut down the UK’s largest coalmine because we must keep fossil fuels in the ground to stop catastrophic climate change.”
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