Jan 31st, 2013
Two activists were arrested [on January 30] for distributing this flier near the apartment of Peabody Energy CEO Greg Boyce on Tuesday inside the Chase Park Plaza hotel and apartment complex. The activists were charged with disturbing the peace and released after eight hours in custody.
Earlier that morning, a small group known as the “Chase Park Plaza Committee for Non-Evil” leafletted inside the building’s parking garage, posting warnings to tenants and guests that Boyce, a “known climate criminal,” resides inside the building. The flier states: “Mr. Boyce’s crimes, while too extensive and storied to detail completely here, reveal a legacy of gross disregard for the city of St. Louis, workers’ rights, human life, and the future of the planet as a whole,” and features criticism of Peabody’s complicity in the forced relocation of Dineh (Navajo) families from their ancestral homeland in Black Mesa, Arizona. Activists also used the flier to highlight Peabody’s efforts to shirk on their obligations to retired coal miners, as well as the massive $61 million tax break that Peabody received from the city of St. Louis in 2010.
You can support continued direct action against extraction by making a generous donation to the RAMPS legal fund.
After nearly 300 fliers had been distributed, two members of the Chase Park Plaza Committee for Non-Evil were tackled by at least ten hotel employees. The activists, who had not received an order to leave the property, were then ziptied around their wrists and legs by hotel security and forcibly detained until police arrived. Security used chokehold grips on the activists, and one activist could be seen bleeding from his nose on the floor of the hotel lobby as a result of an injury sustained during the assault. Though Missouri state law only authorizes private security to administer “citizen’s arrests” in response to felony offenses, St. Louis police refused multiple requests by the detained activists to file a complaint against the security officials involved in the detention.
“The inconvenience we experienced today is literally nothing compared to the forty years of genocidal onslaught that Peabody has wrought upon the Dineh people,” said one of the arrested activists who wished to remain anonymous. “The executives who profit intensely from the constant destruction of our planet are hiding out in St. Louis, Phoenix, Denver, and all throughout the corporate zones of America. We refuse to be intimidated by their violence and will not be deterred from holding the Greg Boyces of this world accountable for their atrocities.”
Tuesday’s confrontation was the latest in a series of recent actions targeting coal companies in St. Louis. On Tuesday, January 22, seven activists locked themselves to a 500-pound potted plant in the office of ArchCoal, demanding an end to strip mining in Appalachia. The following Friday, impacted community members from Black Mesa and West Virginia joined forces with allies across the nation in a rally outside Peabody headquarters to draw attention to Peabody’s destructive mining and labor practices. A dozen protesters were arrested at the rally for attempting to deliver a letter to Greg Boyce on behalf of Dineh community members who had traveled all the way from Arizona to voice their concerns about Peabody’s role in the desecration of their homeland. And while activists were fliering at Chase Park Plaza Tuesday morning, 500 members of the United Mine Workers of America were rallying outside Peabody headquarters to demand that Peabody fulfill their obligation to provide pension and health care benefits to retired mine workers; ten mine workers were arrested Tuesday in an act of civil disobedience. You can support continued direct action against extraction by making a generous donation to the RAMPS legal fund.