Four people were arrested this morning outside of the Chevron Building during a peaceful protest of Chevron’s shareholders’ meeting. Over 30 people had gathered, holding signs and banners denouncing militarization and environmental destruction with the intention of entering the meeting.
The assembly, organized by The True Cost of Chevron, was orderly and peaceful according to police officers on the scene, but only 7 protesters were allowed into the meeting, even though they all had valid paperwork. Four protesters attempted to enter the building anyway, but were stopped by security, leading to an hour and a half-long stand-off. With the protesters chanting “Let them in!” behind them, and the security barring their way, the protesters stood strong until police intervened. Protesters lied down on the sidewalk to non-violently resist arrest, and were carried into custody as the crowd chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at the police and the security.
The arrested were Reverend Kenneth Davis (Coalition for Concerned Citizens (Richmond, CA)), Juan Parras (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS)), Mitch Anderson (Amazon Watch) and Han Shan (Clean Up Ecuador Campaign).
Meanwhile, the seven who had been allowed into the meeting took their seats and watched as John Watson, the CEO of Chevron, spewed lies. Elias Isaac of the Angola group, Open Society, explained in an interview with the EF!J this morning, “What Chevron was trying to do was tell their shareholders about the good things… they don’t want to hear the truth, they don’t want to tell the truth… They talk about numbers and profits, but not the impact or costs of these numbers on human lives or the environment.”
During the Q&A session after Watson’s speech, each protester stood up to confront him about Chevron’s terrible practices in their area of the word. Antonia Juhasz, editor of the True Cost of Chevron Alternative Annual Report and member of Global Exchange), was the last one to speak. As she finished expressing her feelings on the exploitation and greed of Chevron, the other six protesters began to chant “Chevron Lies, People Die!” Police then proceeded to drag Mrs. Juhasz out of the building, and Watson ended the meeting abruptly.
Right now, all five protesters are being booked at the HPD Central Patrol, HPD, 61 Reisner, Houston, TX. The phone number of the jail is listed as 713.247.4400, but appears to be disconnected. We will have more information soon.
The arrests come after a press conference by The True Cost of Chevron yesterday, where protesters were allowed into the Chevron Building. The True Cost of Chevron campaign spans numerous countries, from Angola to Ecuador, demanding accountability for environmental damage and economic exploitation at the hands of Chevron. Other organizations involved include Rising Tide Houston.