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Anti-Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Activists March on Blair Mountain

From Marmet, West Virginia, to Blair, West Virginia, hundreds are marching across the Appalachian region throughout this week to honor the historic labor event known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. This event designed to remember one of the largest battles in US labor history, however, is not just about history. A coalition known as Appalachia Rising is using the five-day march to call attention and protest mountaintop removal coal mining.

Parson Brown, co-founder of the Topless America Project, a small group from Chicago that has been producing a documentary on mountaintop removal coal mining for more than five years, reports at the end of the first day of the march the “exhausted marcher”s set up camp. They were met with “steady slew of harassment.” A local came on the scene and tried to “sabotage” the media RV. Cars, coal trucks and “emergency” vehicles, according to Brown, made laps around the marchers blasting horns and sirens.

Eventually the “county commission” forced the marchers to pack up and vacate the grounds or face “mass arrests.” The marchers returned to Marmet, where they had begun their march. But, they expect to continue marching to Blair Mountain.

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Anti-Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Activists March on Blair Mountain

From Marmet, West Virginia, to Blair, West Virginia, hundreds are marching across the Appalachian region throughout this week to honor the historic labor event known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. This event designed to remember one of the largest battles in US labor history, however, is not just about history. A coalition known as Appalachia Rising is using the five-day march to call attention and protest mountaintop removal coal mining.

Parson Brown, co-founder of the Topless America Project, a small group from Chicago that has been producing a documentary on mountaintop removal coal mining for more than five years, reports at the end of the first day of the march the “exhausted marcher”s set up camp. They were met with “steady slew of harassment.” A local came on the scene and tried to “sabotage” the media RV. Cars, coal trucks and “emergency” vehicles, according to Brown, made laps around the marchers blasting horns and sirens.

Eventually the “county commission” forced the marchers to pack up and vacate the grounds or face “mass arrests.” The marchers returned to Marmet, where they had begun their march. But, they expect to continue marching to Blair Mountain.

In the end, participants expect to march fifty miles. Each day participants will go about ten miles. The march will culminate in a rally in Blair, West Virginia, where Emmylou Harris, Ashley Judd and other artists will perform. Also, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is expected to speak at the rally.

While many of the people participating are marching, some are being tasked with the job of preparing meals, setting up camps, driving shuttles and delivering water to those who are walking each day.
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