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Climbers Scale Nelson’s Column in Acid Rain Protest

March 30, 1988 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ Two Greenpeace volunteers scaled Nelson’s Column on Wednesday to protest acid rain pollution.

The two men, who made their ascent in five hours using equipment, were arrested and charged with breaching the peace when they descended the 170-foot landmark in Trafalgar Square later in the day, Greenpeace officials said.

Joe Thompson, 26, and John Stevenson, 30, started their ascent on the column at 4 a.m. and reached the statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson, a 19th- century British naval hero, about five hours later.

During their descent, they unfurled a banner reading ″Stop Acid Rain″ on the column.

Thompson and Stevenson, both from Sheffield in northern England, used climbing ropes and harnesses. The environmental group wanted to highlight what it considers government complacency over acid rain damage.

It urged Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government to allocate part of the estimated $8.2 billion in electricity price increases in the next four years to fighting acid raid, caused mainly by sulfur and nitrogen emissions from coal-fueled power plants and factories.