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Raging Grannie protestors quickly released, awaiting court date

From left, Nancy Nelson, Deena Romoff, and Margie Heller, members of the activist group Raging Grannies, block railroad tracks near 2302 East Trent to protest the movement of oil and coal trains through Spokane on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
From left, Nancy Nelson, Deena Romoff, and Margie Heller, members of the activist group Raging Grannies, block railroad tracks near 2302 East Trent to protest the movement of oil and coal trains through Spokane on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The women calling themselves “Raging Grannies” say they were well treated after being arrested for trespassing on Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks at Trent Avenue and Napa Street on Wednesday.

The women were part of a group protesting oil and coal trains and the role they play in global warming. About 20 women, all members of the international activist group Raging Grannies, participated in the protest and three were arrested when they refused to clear the tracks.

Margie Heller said it was her first protest arrest. “I really believe we need to take action about climate change,” she said.

Also arrested were Deena Romoff and Nancy Nelson.

Several trains were stopped by the protest, some of which were carrying coal and oil, said BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace.

All three women were booked into jail on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and obstructing a railroad line. The Spokane County Jail was busy and the process took about two hours, said Heller.

“All of the official people were pretty darn nice to us,” she said. “At one point we were in a room with a lot of people in their jail uniforms, which we never had to do. Some of them were quite talkative.”

Romoff said the arresting officers treated them respectfully, even helping them across the railroad tracks. The staff at the jail were also helpful.

“I felt like they kind of shuffled us to the front of the line, which was very nice of them,” she said.

She said she wanted to be arrested to keep the discussion on global warming going.

“I want to keep it in the forefront of people’s awareness,” she said. “I want to go to trial.”

All three women are scheduled to appear in court to be arraigned on Sept. 7.