More than 40 Cliffside protesters jailed for crossing the line | CLT Blog

More than 40 Cliffside protesters jailed for crossing the line

Posted on 20 Apr 2009 by Rhi Bowman

Duke Energy calls their new Cliffside Steam Station (a.k.a. coal fired power plant), which is roughly 30 percent complete and 60 miles due west of Uptown, “a bridge plant to a lower carbon future.” They also say, “it will be the cleanest coal-fired power plant in the nation” and “to suggest that Duke Energy is not pursuing renewables or that renewables can provide baseload [sic] needs is simply inaccurage [sic].”


Besides beating the corporate drum, Duke Power has some other things going for them. For instance, the state recently downgraded the new plant from a major emitter of hazardous air pollutants to a minor emitter of hazardous air pollutants.

Several hundred protesters publicly disagreed that the downgrade was good news in Uptown today, many of whom arrived ready to be arrested.

As we reported yesterday, some of the protesters were trained to use non-violent techniques and instructed to bring proper identification and at least $100 in cash (presumably for bail). What did they have to do to be arrested? Cross the florescent pink line spray painted on the sidewalk in front of Duke Energy’s offices. The charge? Trespassing.

Though CMPD ran out of metal handcuffs, resorting to plastic ties instead, they did not run out of room in the paddy wagon. Four vans were used to haul the protesters to jail. No one resisted arrest and some were led to the vans without being bound. One of the first people to be arrested? A grandmother.


The nearly four hour protest began in a city park at 10 a.m., made a quick stop outside of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s Charlotte office and then wound through town, beating their own drums — some made out of five-gallon green buckets– to Duke Energy’s corporate headquarters.

What do the protesters want? Ultimately, to save the Earth. One organizer, speaking pre-march said, “Jim Rogers, stop lying to us. Let us be committed to the health and beauty of this planet.”

FYI: Jim Rogers is Duke Energy’s CEO.

Another said this was a human rights issue, adding, “Coal is not the most important resource, water is.”

Want more? Check out my report at Creative Loafing.

Meanwhile, here are some of the people behind the protest:

photos: Rhi Bowman; view these photos on Flickr


  1. Megan 21 Apr 2009 at 1:28 PM

    Thanks for your fantastic coverage of the demonstration!

  2. bigfleet 21 Apr 2009 at 2:29 PM

    I enjoyed the Twitter coverage very much. It felt like seeing a little bit of the future.

  3. Avatar of Melissa Fortune
    Melissa Fortune 22 Apr 2009 at 1:19 AM

    @bigfleet Right!?!? It was muy futuristic. The speed of life… whoa. Good work Rhi!

  4. Avatar of Melissa Fortune
    Melissa Fortune 22 Apr 2009 at 1:38 AM

    Rhi, hv you spoke with any of the “arrestees” after?

  5. Rhi B. 22 Apr 2009 at 7:12 PM

    No, I haven’t. That would make for a great follow up story, though. Let me see what I can do.

    I always kick myself for the things I forget to do at events, during interviews. Hoping after graduation (in 16 days) my brain cells will allow more good ideas and critical thinking to seep through. Meanwhile, will someone please hook me up with another caffeine IV? Kthx.

    And, thanks for the praise. I really appreciate it.

  6. Kim SIsto Robinson 25 Apr 2009 at 2:59 PM

    ~Rhi–Excellent coverage. I believe the only way to change things is to protest and shake things up! Keep up the super job! xx