Dustin Steele: Arrested at Mountain Mobilization being Held on $25K Bail

Above is a video of Dustin Steele, being filmed during the training leading up to the Mountain Mobilization July 28,  To his left is Junior Walk, another native West Virginian who took part in the protest. According to the RAMPS media team he wanted his arrest made public.

Catherine V. Moore (email), reporter for the Register-Herald in Beckley, WV filed a report July 29, 2012, "Activists walk onto Lincoln County mine."

Here's how she described what happened in the Kanawha State Forest July 28:

 A midday gathering in Kanawha State Forest, before the action, was swarmed with State Police and protesting miners. At the back entrance of the state park near Marmet, about 75 miners parked their cars and walked miles into the bottom where they hoped to encounter the activists.

Many more units were on site at the activists’ camp in the state forest, where miners gathered to counter-protest. At least once, a lengthy, civil dialogue over the region’s economic future unfolded between the two sides.

Meanwhile, a caravan of about 15 vehicles had been deployed to the Lincoln County mine.

There was no police presence when the convoy arrived at the remote location on Mud River Road, but a guard at the mine entrance quickly called security.

The group activists proceeded past the guard house and into the working mine. Some unfurled banners reading “Restore Our Mountains, Reemploy our Miners,” “Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays,” and “STOP.”

Two others chained themselves to a rock truck, and one climbed a tree on the mine site.

Ryan Halas of Greensboro, N.C., was one of the protesters at Hobet who says he is committed to direct action as a tactic to fight strip mining.

“I think it’s worth me risking my body, arrest, and freedom because I feel these communities have been abused from the time of the broad form deed until now and it’s the duty of conscious people to come highlight injustice nationally,” he said.

“In conversations with people who don’t think I’m doing the right thing, even those folks acknowledge the risks, health costs, and dangers to the community. But they accept those risks bravely.”

Within half an hour, State Police arrived on the site, informed participants that they were trespassing and asked them to leave. Some did, and others stayed.

By 1:40 p.m., 10 State Police cars were on scene, with more following behind.

RAMPS called off plans to deploy any additional protesters at 3:30 p.m.

She also interviewed RAMPS activist Junior Walk, who told her he participates in the direct action because he tired of Big Coal's power in his community.
Seeing all these people willing to put their freedom on the line to help people like me try and free ourselves from that kind of oppression is very inspiring. How could you not get involved in something like that?...

The people here in this state need to figure out who the real enemy is and realize their workers are getting poisoned and killed, just like members of their communities.

When the coal industry decides to pull up roots and take off, what are they going to be left with? Broken bones, black lung, and probably not even a pension. I’ve never seen a tree hugger lay anybody off.