NEW INFO: Protester Arrested at Governor's Mansion

By: Rahel Solomon, Jeremy Edwards Email
By: Rahel Solomon, Jeremy Edwards Email

UPDATE 8/21/13 @ 10:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ)-- It took 12 firefighters, two trucks, and a handful of other police to free a protestor who chained himself to a barrel Wednesday.

Police arrested David Baghdadi for trespassing and obstruction after he chained himself to a barrel of dirty water just steps away from the governor's mansion at the State Capitol.

The Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival Group, RAMPS, was behind the protest. They tell they were fighting against dangerous coal slurries in West Virginia.

“There are still people who have black water coming out of their taps, or red water -- who still have to still deal with the health effects of this stuff," said RAMPS member Junior Walk.

West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Communications Director Lawrence Messina said the method protesters used Wednesday was the wrong way of getting the governor’s attention.

"There's a process, this is the wrong way. This is not the way to do things," Messina said.

County Magistrate Julie Yeager set Baghdadi ’s bail at $5,000. He was taken to the South Central Regional Jail.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was not at the mansion at the time of the incident.

UPDATE 8/21/13 @ 9:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Authorities say an environmental activist who locked himself to a barrel of dirty water in front of the governor's mansion to protest Appalachian coal slurry impoundments has been charged with trespassing and obstruction.

Charleston firefighters spent several hours Wednesday trying to cut David Baghdadi of Rock Creek free on the mansion steps.

They had planned to take him to a hospital so they could free his arm. However, on the way, authorities said Baghdadi voluntarily let go of the pipe.

Kanawha County Magistrate Julie Yeager set Baghdadi's bail at $5,000 and he was told not to come onto statehouse grounds as part of the conditions for his release.

Baghdadi is a member of Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival.

Earlier Wednesday, two activists with the group paddled onto a slurry impoundment and displayed banners at Independence Coal's Shumate Creek in Raleigh County. There were no immediate arrests.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A protester is facing charges after police say he chained himself to a barrel on the steps of the governor's mansion at the State Capitol in Charleston.

Police say the man, who is from Rock Creek, West Virginia, chained himself to the barrel just before noon Wednesday.

He is with the environmental group RAMPS.

Group members say the barrel is filled with black water to represent coal slurry.

Firefighters were called to check out to make sure nothing dangerous was inside.

Police say the man will be charged with obstruction and trespassing.

He has been taken to the hospital. A piece of the barrel he was chained to became stuck on his arm, so it is being cut off.

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