Former coal miner stops trains into Newcastle port in latest protest

PROTESTERS have again shut the train line into Newcastle Port, using a former coalminer as their spokesperson.

Micah Weekes, as part of the Frontline Action on Coal group, climbed a train at Sandgate bridge, halting rail movements.

The Central Coast man, who worked in the coal industry for nearly 10 years, is demanding the government take steps towards transitions away from the coal industry. 

“You don't have to work in the industry to get sick from this,” he said 

“My kids are gonna get sick. Its already happening. People in my community have reoccurring illnesses, respiratory issues, cancer, tumours.”

Police were called to the scene. Officers from Newcastle City Police District, with assistance from Police Rescue, attended and arrested the 38-year-old man.

He was taken to Waratah Police Station where he was charged with enter inclosed lands without lawful excuse, cause/attempt to cause train in motion to be stopped, and cause obstruction to railway locomotive or rolling stock.

He was granted conditional bail and will appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday October 4.

Several people were arrested in three Frontline Action on Coal protests that blocked the rail link to Kooragang Island last week. 

A Port Waratah Coal Services statement published in Wednesday’s Newcastle Herald said the company respected the right of Australian’s to express their political views, however, it urged protesters not to enter or interfere with private property. 

“It would be a tragedy if a protester was injured or even killed on site, or if the lives of workers or the police were placed in danger by the actions of a few.”

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