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Hundreds Attend Solidarity Rally Opposed to Coal

News Release, Water Dragon Alliance, January 22, 2012

Solidarity - Not Compliance! rally at Buckley Bay

Over 400 people showed up in Buckley Bay on Saturday, in support of a festive outdoor anti-coal rally called, "Solidarity -Not Compliance!"

Water Dragon by Rena RogersAn entourage of almost 100 islanders accompanied a twenty foot-long Chinese New Year's dragon off the Denman ferry at 1:00 pm. Cheered on by folks attending from as far away as Vancouver, Victoria, Port Alberni and Campbell River, the dragon was greeted at the nearby rally site by musicians, and a giant raven bearing a placard that read, "Ravens opposed to Coal!"

The event took place on the cusp of the Chinese lunar new year, celebrated in 2012 as the year of the water dragon. Rally organizers, the Water Dragon Alliance, recognized the dragon as representing boldness, perseverance, and the overcoming of obstacles in Chinese mythology. They introduced the dragon from Denman as a symbol of solidarity with the thousands of protestors demonstrating against the expansion of coal-fired plants in China, as well as with communities throughout the Vancouver Island region united in opposition to Compliance Energy Corporation's proposed underground Raven Coal Mine in nearby Fanny Bay.

Nature was on side with blue skies and a little sunshine, providing a welcome break in a week of otherwise stormy winter weather.

Baynes Sound oyster grower Bunny Shannon, addressed the crowd: "It's a no brainer. The impact of the proposed mine on the hundreds of sustainable jobs in our regional shellfish industry will be too great.

"People may say we have always mined coal here. But we used to have slaves, we used to beat our wives," said Shannon.

Des Kennedy, Denman resident, author, and environmental activist, noted that the name of the proposed Raven underground coal mine in Fanny Bay might be appropriate after all: "The word 'raven' is both a noun and a verb. As the latter, it also means to plunder, take by force, and to hunt for prey," Kennedy explained.

Tria Donaldson, Pacific Coast Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee said: "The great turnout shows how much resistance this mine has all the way from Campbell River down to Victoria. There is no place for a dirty coal mine on a climate-friendly Vancouver Island!"

Donaldson posed a question for Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, also the Minister of Agriculture, with aquaculture and the Baynes Sound shellfishery in his portfolio. "How many thousands of people in your riding will have to say NO to Raven Coal before you will stand up and join them?"

Linda Safford, from Comox Valley Water Watch, spoke about the risks to drinking water in the Comox Valley and introduced a petition to oppose the proposed Raven mine.

Ken Wu, Executive Director of Majority for a Sustainable Society (MASS) talked about coal as a global issue. "Climate change trumps all other environmental concerns," says Wu. "Wild salmon, old growth trees, everything will be lost if we don't solve climate change. It's the number-one threat facing our planet."

The demo concluded with a photo shoot of hundreds of people assembled on the adjacent highway overpass above a forty foot banner reading, "Solidarity -No Coal!"

Solidarity - Not Compliance!