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52 climate activists arrested on train tracks near Anacortes

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ANACORTES, Wash. — Authorities cleared the tracks of protesters and arrested 52 climate activists Sunday morning in Washington state.

A spokesman for the rail line near two refineries in northwest Washington says about 150 people spent the night in tents and sleeping bags on the tracks near Anacortes, about 70 miles north of Seattle.

BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas says they were asked to leave at about 5 a.m. and most gathered their belongings and peacefully left the area.

The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management said a coordinated team of law enforcement officers arrested 52 people who refused to clear the tracks.

“Prior to making any arrests, we did advise protesters that they could move to designated locations near March’s Point and lawfully demonstrate,” said Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt.

All were cited for trespassing. One protester was cited for resisting arrest.

The rail line has been closed since Friday because of the protests. Melonas says trains will begin running Sunday afternoon.