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Greenpeace activists hijack Italian power stations

Protestors climb chimney and occupy conveyor belt at country’s biggest coal-burning power station

Four coal-fired power stations in several parts of Italy were today occupied by Greenpeace activists as G8 leaders met in L’Aquila to discuss issues including action on climate change. More than 100 Greenpeace activists from 18 countries took part in the protests, which hope to draw attention to the group’s campaign for action by world leaders on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the targets was Italy’s biggest coal-burning power station at Brindisi in south-eastern Italy where protestors climbed the chimney and occupied the conveyor belt carrying coal into the plant.

A local news agency quoted one of the demonstrators as saying the power station’s management had started the belt while the Greenpeace activists were still on it. “At first, they didn’t know we were on the conveyor belt”, said Serena Bianchi. “Then we went to tell them, but even then we had some difficulty in persuading them to stop everything.”

The organisation also occupied working plants near Venice and Genoa and staged a protest at an old oil-fired power station at Porto Tolle in northern Italy that is being converted to coal. The UK activist Ben Stewart, who previously climbed the Kingsnorth coal power station in 2007 and today climbed a 160ft chimney at a site near Venice, said: “Politicians talk but leaders act. The G8 leaders must stop putting the interests of big coal and other climate polluting industries ahead of the planet and take strong, decisive leadership on climate change.”

Greenpeace is campaigning for carbon dioxide emissions to be cut by 40% by 2020 from their 1990 levels, and the group is also seeking a pledge from the G8 nations to provide developing countries with more than $100bn a year for action on climate change.

Three of the four power stations occupied today belong to Italy’s biggest electricity generator, ENEL. A spokesman said the company had no comment to make.

There have been several other protests in Italy ahead of the G8 meeting. Ten people were arrested on Tuesday, and five were detained yesterday near L’Aquila where the conference is being held.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/08/greenpeace-g8-protest-coal-italy