Greenpeace activists arrested during Fred Hartman Bridge protest due in federal court

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Taisha Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - The Greenpeace activists who were arrested during this week's protest at the Fred Hartman Bridge are scheduled to appear in federal court Saturday.

Twenty-five protesters were arrested after several of them repelled off the bridge early Thursday and dangled over the Houston Ship Channel for most of the day. They were charged with criminal trespass, obstructing a highway and obstructing critical infrastructure.

PHOTOS: Mug shots of the 25 Greenpeace protesters who were arrested

Arrest warrants were issued for an additional six people, authorities said.

On Friday, authorities said 22 of the protesters had also been charged with the federal crime of aiding and abetting obstruction of navigable waters. Those defendants are due in court about noon Saturday. Cameras are not allowed in a federal courthouse.

If convicted, the 22 charged with federal crimes face up to a year in jail and a possible $2,500 fine.

According to Greenpeace, the activists had planned to remain on the bridge for 24 hours to protest the use of fossil fuels. They were arrested about 12 hours after they first appeared on the bridge.

The Coast Guard said boat traffic through the channel was stopped until authorities could remove the protesters.

Harris County prosecutors said this is the first time the obstructing critical infrastructure has been used since it was put into law on Sept. 1.

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