Power plant protest: 26 arrested

Reporter: Chuck Weber

A power plant protest shuts down a major road, disrupts businesses and leads to dozens of arrests.

Activists are trying to stop a power plant from being built near 20-mile bend.

With heavy presence of Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies, opponents of the West County Energy Plant gathered at the plant construction entrance to protest. "I'm not very surprised by it. I think we were definitely expecting some sort of police presence," says protestor Abiligal Singer.

Deputies closed down SR 80 Southern Boulevard westbound for hours.

The power plant construction entrance is also the entrance to the Palm Beach Aggregates Rock Pits. The protest keeps dozens of truckers from coming and going.

It also shutdown Tom Richardson's crews who were installing a water main. "I really don't think it's a good thing. If they were protesting FPL, FPL is down the road. They're shutting down working men here."

At least five times deputies warn protesters they'd be arrested unless they moved. In end, 26 protesters remain locking arms and locking themselves in pipes. One after another, deputies arrest the protesters making their stand.

Afterward, some of the protesters not arrested complained deputies used too much force. "Well just that they were using pain compliance holds on peaceful protesters," describes protestor Juan Martinez.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw defends, "That's not true. They were going to stay there as long as they could possibly stay there, and they decided they weren't going to get up."

The sheriff said deputies did use pain compliance holds but only because protesters bodies went limp and they refused to move on their own.

Bottom line, the sheriff says, none of the protesters got hurt.