Three Leeds residents are being sued for £5million by energy giant EDF for their part in a week long occupation that shut down the company's newest gas fired power station last October.
The three, along with 18 others, were protesting against the government's plans for up to 40 new gas power stations, as part of the campaign group No Dash for Gas.
EDF's lawsuit has provoked a major public backlash with a petition from one Leeds activist's parents reaching over 21,000 signatures in three days and major organisations including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Green Party expressing their support calling EDF's actions “a newlow in corporate attempts to stifle democratic dissent”.
Several of the campaigners face losing their homes as a result of the lawsuit, and all could face bankruptcy or be forced to pay a percentage of their salaries to EDF for decades to come.
– Kristina Jones, one of the No Dash for Gas defendants
This lawsuit is EDF's attempt to bully us and suppress protest but it's massively backfired!
"Thousands of people are supporting us and there's even a protest planned to shut down EDF's flagship 'Let's Talk Power' conference on 1st May."
Sixteen campaigners occupied two chimneys at West Burton for a week in October 2012, stopping nearly 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The activists – 21 in total - were convicted of aggravated trespass at Mansfield Magistrates Court on 20th February 2013. Seventeen are due to besentenced on March 20th, and the remaining four on April 2nd.