Three BostonCAN members headed to Fall River this past Monday, September 8th, to support climate activists Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, who were arrested after using a lobster boat to block a shipment of coal to the Brayton Point Power Plant last May. Here is more from Reita about her experience:
When Suzette, Lauren and I arrived at the Fall River Courthouse where Jay and Ken were to begin their trial, Quakers were already sitting silently in a half circle, with other small groups appearing, including the principles, their attorneys, members of the press and activist supporters and their leaders.
I sat through the brief trial procedure, mostly chatting with people next to me during the frequent recesses.
On the elevator ride up to the courtroom, Ken chuckled about singing the Folsom Prison blues, but he and Jay and their families were pretty subdued. There were only 32 seats in the Courtroom that were available to the public. The other 32 seats were to be reserved for the possible jurors. Later, as it became clear that there would be no jury trial, these seats were filled. The judge was tough and fair. Near the end of the proceedings when the courtroom was packed, he asked if people were in the outside hallway. When he was told there were, he had the doors to the Courtroom opened, noting that the Court was open to the public. I liked that.
Earlier, Tim deChristopher who sort of acted as manager, set up a system for us to shuttle in and out of the Courtroom without disturbance. We were reminded of appropriate court behavior–no cheering or booing.
After the details of the surprise withdrawal of criminal charges had been worked out, and the settlement of civil charges with a $4000 fine for reimbursement to the Town of Somerset , we left the Courtroom and gathered outside to celebrate. I’m not much for speeches, so I was kind of on the edge of the crowd when I heard the D.A. Sam Sutter make a statement supporting activist efforts opposing climate change. Then he was holding up a Rolling Stone Magazine with a recent McKibben article in it and saying he was going to the Peoples Climate March. Wow, what a guy!
After the excitement of this pronouncement, we sang some songs together, and walked to a nearby church where 350MA had set up a generous lunch. Then back home. It was a grand day.
To hear Ken and Jay on Democracy Now! and learn more about the blockade, trial, and post-trial media coverage, click here.