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British police arrest 50 at power station demo

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Aug 9, 2008
British police on Saturday arrested 50 environmental campaigners as they tried to break into a power plant in protest at plans to build a new generation of coal-fired electricity plants.

Police used batons to prevent protesters from entering Kingsnorth power station in Kent, southeast England, where about 2,000 people gathered for the start of a week-long protest camp.

Four activists breached the perimeter fence, but they were arrested inside the grounds of the plant.

Another four people were arrested trying to launch a boat on the nearby River Medway and more than 120 campaigners were rescued from the water.

A spokesman for Camp for Climate Action claimed up to 19 protesters had managed to get into the power station in a bid to force it to be shut down.

E.ON, the German energy giant that operates the plant, denied campaigners' claims that they had succeeded in disrupting the operation of the plant.

A spokesman for the company, Jonathan Smith, said: "It is operating, it's business as usual. There is always a lower demand for power on a Saturday, but it is running."

Playing musical instruments and waving colourful banners, some 600 people including women and children had marched to the main gates of the power station surrounded by a cordon of police.

E.ON is planning to construct two new cleaner coal units on the Kingsnorth site, which it claims will be 20 percent less polluting than conventional power stations. They would be the first coal-fired power stations to be built in Britain for 24 years.

The scheme has won approval from the local council, but the government will make the final decision.

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