I just got back from a protest at the largest coal plant in New England, the coal plant at Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts, right near Providence.
Here's some backstory on the protest:
I didn't go to the training yesterday. I'm a mom, so I just went to the protest. There was a pretty good crowd for being out in the middle of nowhere. People came from all over New England. I'd say there were about three thousand people, maybe more. There were people of all ages there, from a baby in a stroller up to elderly people in wheelchairs.
Lots of cops! Definitely over fifty cops. There were regular police officers and a lot of what looked like National Guard in camo, and even a SWAT team! Did I mention the wheelchairs and strollers? I was surprised about the SWAT team.
I drove down to one of the parking spots and a school bus took us to the rally place. It was a playground, a baseball field under the shadow of the coal plant. We sang protest songs and listened to some excellent speeches--a speech from a local guy who had been fighting the coal plant for sixteen years, a union organizer for electricians wanting to get good union jobs in the area building the wind farm, a couple of very moving speakers from West Virginia who talked about mountaintop removal, finally, a young woman who had gotten herself arrested down in West Virginia and was going to get arrested shortly, and then it was time for the main event.
We marched very politely, eying the cops, with singing and chanting down to the coal plant itself, where we set up mockups of wind turbines and solar panels. Forty brave souls in red shirts went further, as planned beforehand, and got themselves arrested. We all cheered and thanked them. Then we marched back to the park, bringing back the panels and turbines, and took the bus back to the parking lots.
I want to apologize to Bill McKibben. A while back I wrote this:
Today, even though the turnout was even smaller, it was more focused. Instead of feeling discouraged the way I did after that 2011 350.org rally, I feel energized. What we did today is what we should be doing, that, and going after their money with divestment and pressure on politicians to take back all that money they give away to the fossil fuels industry.
Here's hoping the local media does their part and actually reports on the action today.
There were a handful of locals looking for trouble as we marched on the way back. They were sitting on the stone fence we were passing--one was wearing a 2nd Amendment T-shirt and the other was wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt. But everyone was polite--I think they went away disappointed.
350.org is planning a bigger summer rally at the same place a month from now, when some athletic souls will then spend six days walking to where they will be building the new wind farm.
2:46 PM PT: The Boston Globe has reported on it:
There were definitely more than four hundred people there though!
Depressingly, the article appears nowhere on the local news page or even the local news for Massachusetts page. :( Par for the course.
3:07 PM PT: ARRGHHH! This one is on the local news queue:
"Dozens demand that Governor Deval Patrick close Brayton Point power plant in Somerset"--Dozens my Aunt Fanny!
Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 6:36 AM PT: I've been thinking about my crowd estimate. There were about twenty times the number of people there that got arrested, which means about a thousand people, not three thousand. So I overestimated, just as the police underestimated.