More than 100 arrested at world’s largest coal port

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More than 100 arrested at world’s largest coal port

A two-day blockade of the world’s largest coal port has triggered 109 arrests.

Hundreds of activists swam or used kayaks to occupy the Newcastle port’s shipping lane in Australia, to protest climate inaction.

They claim the disruption prevented over half a million tonnes of coal from leaving the country.

Australia is the world’s second biggest coal exporter and relies on the fossil fuel for its own electricity needs.

Located roughly 170 km (105 miles) from Sydney, the Port of Newcastle is the country’s most important terminal for coal shipments.

An estimated 3,000 people from across Australia took part in the 30-hour weekend blockade of its shipping lane, which had been approved by police.

But dozens of protesters remained in the water following the protest cut-off point – triggering 109 arrests, including five minors who were subsequently released.

On Monday, 104 people were charged over their refusal to leave the harbour channel, according to a statement from New South Wales police.

“I am doing this for my grandchildren and future generations,” said 97-year-old Alan Stuart, who defied the deadline.

“I am so sorry that they will have to suffer the consequences of our inaction. So, I think it is my duty to do what I can,” he added.

Rising Tide – which organised the action – has called it the “biggest act of civil disobedience for climate in Australia’s history”.

The protest took place just days ahead of COP28, the yearly global climate change summit, which begins in Dubai on Thursday.