Thousands raised to support convicted climate protesters involved in coal mine protest
A fundraiser set up to help climate protesters fined by a court has reached more the £2,000 in a matter of days.
A group of seven Extinction Rebellion protesters were this week convicted over their involvement in a protest at Aberpergwm Coal Mine in South Wales.
The seven were ordered to pay a total of £5,537 in prosecution costs and fines – and also need to pay £2,463 in defence costs.
A crowd-funder has been set up to help the group meet the costs – with a target of £8,000.
Within the space of two days a total of £2,801 has been raised, including contributions of £250 and £200 from some supporters.
Jamie Russell, one of the protesters, from Shrewsbury, said the crowd-funder, which was set up by his co-defendant Pamela Williams, from Llanidloes, was to cover the costs resulting from their trial.
A similar crowd funder was launched to help a group – which included several members convicted over the Aberpergwm protest – that was earlier this year fined over a protest at Barclay's Bank in Cardiff.
On that occasion the appeal beat its target of £5,000, with another, £1,000 added for a potential appeal against the conviction.
Speaking about the latest fundraiser Mr Russell said they were hugely grateful to the people who had supported them.
He said: "It is simply to cover the fines and the prosecution costs and defence costs.
"Nobody involved in the crowd-funder sees any of the money, it just goes to the courts or the lawyers, no one claims any expenses.
"It just helps us be able to do something like this and continue."
He added: "If you are being faced with court costs and fines then at a certain point any money you have spare will have gone so this is a way to enable people to take this kind of action and maybe not face the full brunt of the court costs.
"We are all incredibly humbled and grateful to the people who have been so generous and contributed to this. It is just amazing to see, and see people are supporting the action we have taken and understand the reasons why we did it.
"I think a lot of people feel – whether the judgment is right or wrong, it is not for me to criticise the court – the reason people are driven to take action like ourselves is an awareness our government is failing us."
The Aberpergwm protest took place in July last year.
It involved around 60 people dressed in clear suits with flags, placards and coloured flares, and was arranged in opposition to a new licence allowing the mine to extract more coal.
Those taking part marched up and occupied the mine, owned by Celtic Energy, for a number of hours.
Seven defendants – including three from Shropshire, were found guilty at trial.
They included Mr Russell, Ms Williams, Stephen Jarvis from Bideford, Sarah Wilding from Aberystwyth, Rosalind Pears from Radstock, Michael Bastow from Oswestry, and Dougall Purce from Shrewsbury.
Williams, Russell, Wilding, Bastow and Purce were all found guilty of aggravated trespass, while Jarvis and Pears were found guilty of 'obstruct or disrupting a person engaged in a lawful activity'.
The fundraiser can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aberpergwmcoalminexr.