Save Happy Valley Members Arrested: Rooftop Demo
The Save Happy Valley Coalition members who were protesting on Solid Energy's rooftop this morning have been removed and arrested by about twelve members of the Team Policing Unit. The Police smashed a hole in a door with a sledgehammer to access the four storey high roof area and remove the protestors. The demonstration was in solidarity with the ongoing occupation of Happy Valley, 25km northeast of Westport.
Three Save Happy Valley members hold a roof-top protest at Solid Energy, in solidarity with the ongoing occupation of Happy Valley.
Members of the Save Happy Valley Coalition protest against the proposed mine in Happy Valley.
Kristin Gillies and Dan Rae (in green cap) under arrest at Solid Energy's offices.
Photo Credit to Torrance Hodgson.
Daniel Rae, Raoni Hammer and Kristin Gillies were arrested at approximately 10.45am, and appeared in the Christchurch District Court at 2.15pm today. The hearing was remanded to Wednesday the 22nd at 10am in the District Court. All three were charged with Unlawfully Being on a Building. Daniel Rae was also charged with Wilful Trespass. They plan to plead not guilty to the charges.
"Happy Valley is a national treasure – and the Labour Government must now allow Solid Energy to mine it. The Courts have failed to protect the habitat of these precious species so we have been left with no choice but to take non violent direct action," said Daniel Rae. "Such actions directly challenge Solid Energy's unacceptable plans and also raise public awareness of what this state owned enterprise is doing on public land."
Rae, Hammer and Gillies ascended the building in the early hours of the morning, using wire and ropes. Solid Energy was oblivious of their presence until the media arrived and the activists unfurled their banners: "Save Happy Valley: Support the Occupation" and "Save Happy Valley: Stop Solid Energy."
"The group opposes Solid Energy's planned coal mine in the valley because of the impact it would have on the pristine ecosystem and the climate. Happy Valley is home to great spotted kiwi and twelve other endangered species," said Raoni Hammer.
"The coal from the mine would pump twelve million tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It will exacerbate the social and economic impacts that climate change is having. The Labour Government has committed to the Kyoto Protocol and curbing climate change – so it must bring its state owned enterprise under control," said Kristin Gillies.