Environmental Protesters Breach Power Station's Security

Sept. 4, 2007
Small crew of protesters circumvented security and shut down large Australian power station

A GROUP of amateur protesters sparked major security concerns at Victoria's biggest power station, following a brazen dawn break-in at the Latrobe Valley plant.

As many as 15 protesters from an environmental protection group calling itself Real Action on Climate Change, stormed the Loy Yang power station about 5am yesterday. protesting the government's policies on greenhouse gas emissions.

Four of the protesters, aged 20-23, bypassed security fences and surveillance cameras and chained themselves to coal-conveyor belts in a major security breach that knocked out nearly a third of the station's power supply. It is believed the three men and one woman cut their way through security fences and climbed onto the conveyor belts -- which carry coal in and out of two of the plant's four generators before hitting an emergency stop button.

The stunt was timed to coincide with the APEC summit in Sydney. One of the plant's four generators was disrupted for as long as seven hours as police search and rescue crews worked to free the protesters.

The shutdown affected about 10 percent of Victoria's electricity supply.

Police have charged three people with trespass.