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Climate camp: a report from the front line

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climate_camp_2008.jpgYou may be aware that this year's Climate Camp is currently taking place at Kingnorth in Kent, where there are plans to build the first new coal-fired power station in the UK for 30 years. There's no illegal activitiy going on as far as I'm aware, as the landowner has agreed to let the protesters move in.

An online friend of mine is at the camp right now, and has been sending regular twitter updates on what's been happening. It's all been peaceful until today, with some fun sounding eco workshops and other harmless awareness-raising activities taking place. But she's just reported in a friend's blog that riot police are now trying to break into the site and using pepper spray, tear gas, and physical violence

So what has gone wrong? The police have already thoroughly searched everyone who entered the site, conviscating everything from guy ropes to children's crayons, so any would-be 'eco terrorists' would have been comprehensively disarmed. So at the moment, the reason for the heavy-handed behaviour is unclear. The official blog reported some problems between police and protesters earlier this morning, and is playing down all other reports. But it does appear that things may have escalated since then.

I hope this will blow over as quickly as did the bad weather that was threatening to spoil our days this morning, and that all concerned will hang in there and resolve matters peacefully. It seems sad that -- once again -- a project designed to promote sustainable living should be prompting such a kerfuffle, and looks likely to descend into another 'us vs. them' scenario that just serves to cut off the green movement from the mainstream. We'll keep you updated on what happens...


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