Posted: Jun 18, 2013 7:24 PM by Melissa Anderson- MTN News
Updated: Jun 18, 2013 7:24 PM
HELENA - The 14 anti-coal protesters who were arrested at the Capitol last summer were sentenced on Monday.
The protesters, who staged a non-violent sit-in at the Capitol, will each pay a $340 fine.
They were arrested for trespassing during their "Coal Export Action" protest in August 2012.
They'd hoped to advance their cause under an old English law of necessity, but the judge refused to hear testimony under that rule, and an appeal isn't likely in the case.
"It might require appealing all the way to the state Supreme Court, and again I don't feel that we would be successful in having the necessity defense allowed to us. So, I might as well pay the fine and move on," said coal protester Lash Ashmore of Seeley Lake.
The group says it plans future protests and actions on the coal export issues.
(August 13, 2012) A group of protesters began a week-long sit in at the Capitol in Helena on Monday with a message.
They're asking the Montana Land Board to put an end to coal mining on state land, claiming that it's dirty and that transporting coal across Montana on trains is a threat to public health.
The protesters plan on being here all week.
Protest organizers say they will stay all day and all night for an entire week to communicate their message.
Law enforcement officials say the Capitol closes at 6 pm and at that point, the protesters must go. Organizers say they are staying, and if officers force them to leave they will be arrested peacefully, post bail, and come back tomorrow.