CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 85 people protesting mountaintop removal coal mining and natural gas fracking gathered around the fountain on the north side of the Capitol on Friday morning. About 35 people carrying pro-coal signs stood nearby.
Both groups then walked up the Capitol steps, circled under the rotunda and headed back downstairs to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office.
Singing and listening to speeches, the two groups stayed in front of Tombin's office for more than half an hour. Several State Police troopers and Capitol police officers stood nearby.
Environmental protesters held signs including: "MTR Poisons Communities," "Diversify the Economy," "Sustainable Safe Jobs for West Virginia" and "No Jobs on a Dead Planet."
Their opponents displayed signs reading: "I Love Coal," "Coal Huggers," "We Support Coal" and "RAMPS Break Our Laws and Endangers Our Miners."
RAMPS is an acronym for Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival, one of the organizations that organized Friday's protest.
Dustin Steele, a RAMPS leader, spoke to supporters before they marched into the Capitol, pledging to continue opposing mountaintop removal operations and underground fracking that releases natural gas.