A Florida jury has convicted seven environmental activists of misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence, reports the Sun Sentinel. The defendants had protested the Everglades construction of a Florida Power & Light Co. power plant in western Palm Beach County.
The interesting part of this case are arguments on behalf of the defense, which attempted to prove that the activists -- working with about 100 others -- had acted out of necessity to save the environment. Lawyers argued that the defendants believed imminent danger was posed by the power plant, both in terms of exacerbating global warming and local pollution, so they felt they had to act.
Experts pointed out that the plant was also expected to use as much water as 50,000 homes and degrade local wetlands.
The protestors say they had exhausted other means of dissent, including letter writing. So on February 18, they held signs, banged on drums and chanted outside the gate of Palm Beach Aggregates, which had sold land for the plant to the utility. The protestors blocked access to the mining company, drawing removal efforts by 100 law enforcement officials. The Sheriff's Office claims the incident cost them $100,000, and they want restitution.
The protesters will be sentenced Feb. 2, and could get fines or jail time, depending on past records. Some other protestors have been convicted in related cases.
Tell us below what you think of the court's decision, and check out the message video from Everglades Earth First!, one of two groups involved in the protests (the other being Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition).
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