Occupying the Montana Capitol… Again!

The Beehive Collective presents their “True Cost of Coal” poster in the occupied Montana capitol yesterday

“Greetings. I have been here since Friday working in Montana’s capital city, Helena, with the Coal Export Action team comprised of folks from Montana as well as from around the country and our movements.

We’ve been rocking it. To say the least. But it’s been busy days. Very busy days.

The Coal Export Action is an eight day series of rolling civil disobedience pressuring the Montana Land Board to prevent the mining of Otter Creek in southeast Montana and raise awareness about coal exports at large. We’ve been building buzz for it globally through social media and outreach to corporate media for months. Buzz has been building locally and regionally through organizational and one on one outreach.

Yesterday was the first day and 100 activists stormed into the Montana state capital building chanting “We’re Fighting For Our Future, Montana Shall Not Be Moved.” We occupied the capital building for seven hours yesterday and plan to go back everyday for the next week.

During the occupation, we turned the capital rotunda into a “No Coal Exports” camp with facilitated workshops, skill shares and, of course, choir practice.

At the end of the day, seven were arrested for refusing to leave and were marched out by police while civil rights songs were sung in solidarity.

But, we’ve been a truly grassroots effort and need your support out there to help us keep this going. Please support the Coal Export Action by donating here.

They were all released this morning, but more actions are planned for this

You can see lots of pictures here

Solidarity, Scott Parkin


Since initially receiving this report, we have heard that  Arch Coal submitted an application for mining Otter Creek today, and three more were arrested in the effort to occupy the Montana Capitol building.

According to the AP article, Governor Schweitzer, a Democrat who has been a big proponent of coal development in eastern Montana, was not expected to speak with the protesters.

“He has no plans to meet with the coal protesters this week while they are in Helena, but he has heard their concerns at the land board meetings,” said spokeswoman Sarah Elliott.

Last summer, dozens of protesters opposed to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S occupied the governor’s offices for more than four hours and interrupted their meeting with him by playing old-time tunes on a piano and dancing on an historic conference table after he refused to renounce his support for the project.

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