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Mine union chief arrested in bankruptcy-law protest

United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts was among 10 people arrested yesterday after they blocked a highway during a protest against federal bankruptcy laws.

Traffic was backed up about a half-mile in each direction on U.S. 60 as the protesters sat on the highway while more than 100 others held a rally outside Massey Energy's Mammoth operation in the London area, said Kanawha County Sheriff's Lt. Bryan Stover. All 10 protesters were arrested without incident and were arraigned in magistrate court on a misdemeanor pedestrian violation. They were later released on personal recognizance bonds, Stover said.

In all, about 150 people attended the 90-minute rally, Stover said.

The Mammoth mine formerly was owned by Horizon Natural Resources, which sold it to Massey after declaring bankruptcy.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Kentucky granted a request by Horizon to terminate its contract with the union, allowing the company to drop health-care benefits for thousands of active and retired miners and their dependents.

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