Protester speaks out after arrest at statehouse

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lisa Petrie was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday night after she refused to end a protest at the Rhode Island Statehouse, but her concern still lies with her children’s future.

Demonstrators staged a sit-in opposing a planned power plant in Burrillville. When state police asked the protesters to leave after the building closed at 4:30 p.m., all but one agreed to go.

“Nobody wants to be arrested,” Petrie told Eyewitness News on Wednesday. “But global warming is the most pressing issue of our time.”

Petrie, an environmental activist, was seen smiling as she was led into a police car on a charge of willful trespassing.

“They waited about another, a little over two hours before they actually arrested me,” she recalled. “I think they were very reluctant to make an arrest at the governor’s office.”

Petrie refused to leave until Gov. Gina Raimondo agreed to stop supporting the power plant project or schedule a meeting with residents to hear their concerns. Her demands weren’t met, but Raimondo’s office said she’s spoken with the protesters in the past.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Raimondo’s office said, “The Governor and her team are closely monitoring the plans and listening to community feedback and concerns.”

Chicago-based Invenergy hopes to build a 900-megawatt, gas-fired plant in Burrillville. Raimondo believes the project would create jobs, bring in more tax revenue, and reduce the cost of energy bills.

Protesters, on the other hand, are worried the plant would lead to more noise and air and water pollution.

“We care about the town, the land, the environmental impact,” said Kathy Martly.

“I’m very concerned for the future of my children,” Petrie added.

Petrie said she’ll continue to make her voice heard. She plans to take part in a rally against the power plant in Burrillville on May 7.

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