HAMLIN, W.Va. (AP) -- 10 environmental activists have pleaded guilty to trespassing at a Lincoln County mountaintop coal mine.
The protesters entered their pleas Tuesday in Lincoln County Magistrate Court.
They were assessed $660 in fines and court costs apiece and ordered to stay off West Virginia mine property for a year. Nine others pleaded guilty last week.
Twenty activists were arrested July 28 after a demonstration at Patriot Coal's Hobet mine. The demonstration was organized by Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival, or RAMPS.
A group known as Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival (R.A.M.P.S.) stormed the Hobet Mine in Lincoln County. State Police arrested 20 people in connection with the protest.
Police say protesters chained themselves to mining equipment and sat in trees until they were forced to leave.
"We have been hosting a training camp to prepare people for [the protest] and and to behave safely and nonviolently," said Matthew Louis-Rosenberg, a spokesman for R.A.M.P.S.
Coal supporters gathered around the mine and tried to prevent any success.
"They have no business being in our mines," said Krisie Cline, wife of a miner. "It's a dangerous area and the equipment is big...they could get run over."
The demonstration had been planned for a while and started early in the morning at Kanawha State Forest. Protesters were equipped with signs and posters declaring their message.
"There are a lot of people I've spoken to that live near these operations and believe that mountaintop removal is killing them and making them very ill," Rosenberg said.
Jack Clark was among a large group of counter protesters at the forest who say they resent the group's attempt to shut down the mine.
"I believe they should leave me and my way of life alone," he said. "[Mining] is how I support my family and how I pay my bills."
Bonnie Barker says her husband works at Hobet and that seeing protests is nothing new.
"Their goal is to wear us down and wear the cpmpanies down," she said.
Coal supporters speculated that the earlier protest at Kanawha State Forest may have been a distraction to keep police and opponents busy while other protesters headed to the mine.
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