Christchurch climate change protesters stop coal train, 19 taken into custody

Climate change activists have stopped a train in Christchurch, protesting against coal.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters, about 50 of which, sat on the train tracks on the corner of Garlands and Opawa Rds in the suburb of Woolston on Friday, blocking a train carrying coal to Lyttleton.

A police spokesperson told Newshub 19 people had been taken into custody following the protests.

The spokesperson said the lawful right to protest was recognised, and police attended to ensure the safety or protestors and members of the public.

"The group were arrested for trespass at the railway tracks on Garlands Rd, Woolston."

Protesters were being spoken to by police, the spokesperson said.

Extinction Rebellion says it's launching a "rebellion against coal".

"We're in the middle of a climate emergency," a spokesperson Siana Fitzjohn said.

She said coal cannot have a future in New Zealand.

Extinction Rebellion protests in Auckland in April took place in the beachfront suburb of Mission Bay, with protesters blocking a major intersection - much to the fury of the public.

"We have to stop digging coal out of the ground, we have to stop using it locally and we have to stop shipping it overseas," Fitzjohn said.

"We hope this [protest] will inspire more people."

KiwiRail chief operating officer Todd Moyle said it regretted the invonvenience.

"But safety is paramount and while the protesters were on the line we could not run the trains," he said in a statement.