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Protesters who shut down trains in Bellingham arrested

Protesters want to stop coal trains like this one. File photo

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Protesters who blocked the main BNSF rail line here for several hours to demonstrate against oil and coal trains have been arrested.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said Bellingham police and Washington State Patrol troopers arrested five people early Sunday morning and that the tracks were reopened at 3 a.m.

One protester was on a tripod over the tracks. He held a sign that read: "Fight for what you love."

Two had chained themselves to a stopped train.

The protest began at 4:30 p.m. Saturday south of Bellingham.

"We applaud activists taking direct action where the legal framework has failed to stop the dangerous train derailments and go a step further to suggest that even if trains never derailed, we oppose fossil fuel extraction on the basis of stopping climate change. No amount of fossil fuels being extracted and burned for energy is safe, because climate change threatens the very existence of life on this planet," a group called Deep Green Resistance said on a website to raise money for the protesters' legal expenses.

The protest held up two Amtrak trains and four freight trains.

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