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Soapbox: Reclaim the Power

If you're reading this, hundreds of us have managed to successfully shut down the UK's largest coal mine.

We took direct action because we must keep fossil fuels in the ground to stop catastrophic climate change. Wearing 300 red boiler suits, carrying a red dragon and giant inflatable “cobblestones”, we have formed a massive red line across the Ffos-y-fran mine. Continuing to dig up coal is a red line for the climate that we won’t allow governments and corporations to cross.

The UK government announced an intention to phase out coal power by 2025 last autumn, but has not acted on this promise. The Welsh Assembly voted in 2015 for a moratorium on new opencast coal mines, but this has also not been turned into law by the current Welsh government.

What’s more, coal company Miller Argent which operates the giant mine in south Wales is seeking to override the local council’s democratic decision to reject of a new opencast coal mine next door.  

We are taking action in solidarity with the local community who have been battling Ffos-y-fran for nearly a decade, and now face the threat of a new mine next door. The United Valleys Action Group are a group of residents turned bold campaigners, who are now resisting the proposed mine at Nant Llesg.

Our mass civil trespass began at 5.30am this morning, when nine of us locked on to each other to block road access to the mine. We ranged from an 80 year old from Penarth to members of Christian Climate Action to campaigners in their twenties.

They were then joined by over 300 hundred people from across the UK and beyond. Campaigners who have resisted fossil fuel projects in Bangladesh, Colombia and Germany have all joined the action in south Wales.

It’s the largest ever action to take place in a UK opencast mine. We’re hoping to continue to peacefully occupy the site for the rest of the day, preventing any coal from being dug up for the whole day.

Our action is the culmination of a four day ‘End Coal Now’ camp that we’ve hosted on common land near Ffos-y-fran. 

Wales deserves a transition away from dirty coal, and the creation of sustainable employment in an economy that respects our planet and its inhabitants, now and in the future. Since Saturday, at our action camp we have organised events with residents, unions, councillors and Assembly candidates to highlight the potential for thousands of sustainable jobs in Welsh clean energy industries - rather than the opencast mining that has devastated the local area.

Our action also marks the start of a global wave of direct action supporting a transition away from fossil fuels. Actions will be taking place in 13 countries over the next two weeks, targeting “the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.”

With Wales going to the polls this Thursday and the climate crisis more urgent than ever, our action sends a bold signal that we must end coal now.

Break Free have supported many global actions, learn more about them here.

For live updates from the mine throughout the day, follow @reclaimthepower on Twitter.

For more information about the global Break Free protests against fossil fuels, click here.

 

Written by Reclaim the Power

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