Yesterday, December 7th, was the first day of U.N. Climate Talks in Copenhagen for COP-15. While Sharon, our Program Director, was in Denmark helping pull off the first of what will be a string of indigenous rights actions with IEN and RAN (report coming soon!), I was in San Ramon, CA, with 100 other folks, helping shut down all three gates to Chevron’s headquarters.
The 12/7 Chevron action was another in a series of Mobilization for Climate Justice-West actions to escalate the pressure on corporations and governments who are standing in the way of real solutions to the climate crisis. Ruckus has been a core member of the MCJ-West coalition, helping to pull off mass trainings and mobilizations here in the bay area over the last year, to engage climate activists in an escalating and strategic use of nonviolent direct action in the movement for climate justice.
Please read the MCJ-West report for more information about why Chevron is being targeted, and you can read the full text of the Open Letter to Chevron that was sent out last week requesting a meeting (which has received no response from officials).
The blockade started at 6:45am PST, while still dark (and extemely cold with rain-turning-to-snow). Three groups took over each of the three road entrances to Chevron Headquarters’ campus – with activists sitting in the streets, using their bodies to block the morning traffic from entering Chevron property. Some used lockboxes, and others linked arms and legs. The cops were out in full force – riot gear on – and managed to confiscate some gear in the rush to take over the intersections. Early attempts to lock to barrels and set up a tripod were abandoned for various logistical reasons. Nonetheless, we were still able to block all three gates successfully.
After six activists who were locked together with lockboxes were dragged out of the street by cops after they refused to unlock, the cops managed to clear part of the intersection at Gate #3 and direct traffic for a short spell, until another wave of activists reclaimed the intersection, to the cheering of the crowd who had gathered to chant and support the blockade.
One by one, activists from Gates 2 and 3 were removed from the roadways, arrested, and held in detention a few miles away; while at Gate #1, the main entrance, the blockaders demanded admittance through the gate onto Chevron property in order to deliver a letter to Chevron officials and hold a meeting. Despite tense resistance, activists managed to get through the gate nonviolently, where they were immediately arrested.
31 people were arrested by the end. Most were cited and detained on a police bus, until they were released around noon. 6-8 were then transported to the Martinez jail with various additional charges, but were released later that night.
MEDIA COVERAGE (as of 12/8/09) via MCJ’s website:
KCRA Sacramento: http://www.kcra.com/news/21888646/detail.html
San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_13949158?nclick_check=1
SF Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/green/detail?entry_id=53032
SF Chronicle: Protests at Chevron
It’s Getting Hot In Here (blog): Protest and Non-Violent Civil Disobedience at Chevron; 31 Arrested
ABC 7 News: 2 dozen protesters arrested outside Chevron HQ
KCBS (Bay Area): Protestors Arrested at Chevron
Contra Costa Times: Chevron protest draws spirit crowd in San Ramon
CBS 5: Arrests In Chevron San Ramon Protest