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Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters found guilty and sentenced

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 2:53 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Two people who protested the Mountain Valley Pipeline have been found guilty of obstruction of justice and interfering with the property rights of another.

The tree sitters were sentenced to spend a day in jail for each day they spent in the trees.

Clare Fiocco and Alexander Lowe appeared together in Circuit and General District Court Wednesday.

During one hearing, both tree sitters were found guilty of their charges, but will also have to answer to damages associated with their extraction.

In Circuit Court, the judge sided with MVP on damages and costs of removing the protesters.

MVP was awarded $141,386.47 in restitution.

Outside of the courthouse and during the hearings, there was rally in support of the tree sitters.

“While I’m really upset at their sentences I can’t say I’m surprised and —- yeah— I just said their actions are really an inspiring act of bravery to me and I think they knew going into it that that their actions could be criminalized,” said protester and friend Caroline Clemson.

“Mountain Valley Pipeline is crossing my water source, and so that’s why I’ve come to help support my friends who live in trees for 932 days,” said Giles County resident and protester Jammie Hale.

Friends of Lowe and Fiocco were not happy to learn the judge will have them both spend a day in jail for each day they spent in the trees.

“It is a travesty of justice. It’s arbitrary and capricious. They’re-- what--- doubling the amount of days that they spent in the trees,” said friend and protester Mara Robbins.

A portion of that will be reimbursed ($66,087) to Montgomery County for its associated costs from extracting the two from the trees.

“The community is in support of what they’re doing. And now they’re in cages,” said Robbins.

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