50 climate activists were charged in Australia after they shoved and tried to stop a coal train.
At least 50 climate change activists were charged with illegally demonstrating near Australia’s biggest coal export port on Sunday after they climbed on a coal train and shoveled coal.
The state police of New South Wales said that 47 protesters were charged with “rail corridor offences,” two were charged with malicious damage, and one was charged with assaulting a security guard because of “illegal protest activity” near the Port of Newcastle, which is about 170 km (105 miles) from the state capital, Sydney.
Rising Tide, a group of climate activists who said they were behind the protest, said that people were arrested because they were “occupying the train.”
In a statement, the group said, “Twenty of the group climbed on top of the train and used shovels to empty the wagons of coal.” Police said that 14 activists had climbed onto a train car in Sandgate, a suburb. They did this in a rail passageway.
Climate change is a controversial topic in Australia, which exports more coal than any other country.
The Labor party, which is on the center-left, does not want to stop all new fossil fuel projects. In a country that is one of the biggest carbon emitters per person in the world, it sees “safeguard mechanism” reform rules as a key part of its promise to cut emissions by 43% by 2030.
The New South Wales government says that the Port of Newcastle is the biggest bulk shipping port on Australia’s east coast and the largest coal export terminal in the country.
The protest group put a picture of people in front of and on top of a coal train on Twitter. A sign on the train said, “Survival Guide for Humanity: Don’t make any more coal.”
The group wrote on Twitter that it had “stopped coal from getting into the port” and that it wanted the Labor Party to “immediately cancel all new coal projects.”
A representative for the Port of Newcastle said that shipping operations were going as usual on Sunday.