Arrested for conspiracy, 114 people alleged to have been planning to shut down E-On's massive Ratcliffe coal fired power station have apparently found themselves voiceless, advised not to issue any statements to the media or friends. Unrelated groups however have been stepping into the void to express support for the alleged action and remind people that taking direct action to cut greenhouse emissions is something we should all be doing. Groups such as Rising Tide, Plane Stupid, Climate Rush, the Camp for Climate Action and others have already issued such statements and no doubt it would be great if a diverse range of groups did likewise.
The media have found themselves with nothing much beyond police statements to flesh out this story and so much of the media coverage has been angled around civil liberties rather than climate change. This is not much of a civil liberties issue - not if the allegations are true. If true then the police simply carried out an extremely successful surveillance operation leading to efficient and timely arrests - preventing an action which would have kept a power station offline for perhaps a week and tying up around a hundred activists in a lengthy conspiracy case. Those involved would probably have wanted people to be talking about climate change rather than policing. Having grassroot organisation and NGO's come forward to express support for the need to take direct action to stop CO2 emissions might help turn the story around a little, linking this to past and future actions as well as the approaching COP15 summit in Copenhagen.
Making statements of support or doing effective direct action against climate criminals would be a good way to offer solidarity and continue media coverage and public interest. One possible idea would be for people to get together as groups of 114 and hand themselves in at police stations in front of assembled media, announcing that these people share an intention to cut CO2 emissions and have talked about and planned to take action in pursuit of such cuts. Such a stunt, especially if repeat around the country, may increase political pressure and enable the media to continue to talk about the alleged plan to shut down one of the countries biggest coal stations and the governments irresponsible plans to build even more such power stations at a time when we should be switching away from fossil fuels.