Today a massive police operation was deployed in Buncombe, Henderson, and Transylvania Counties (near Asheville, NC) to prevent activists from protesting a dirty power plant responsible for climate change. Dozens of uniformed and undercover cops surrounded the site of the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action as a police helicopter hovered over the site. [Read More »]
As a culmination of the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action, activists took a bold direct action against Bank of America over concerns regarding their investment throughout the coal cycle and their promotion of climate injustice. Although there was much speculation regarding a protest action at the Progress Energy Skyland coal-fired power plant, protestors surprised the downtown office of Bank of America.
Two activists locked down inside the main lobby and other activists blockaded the entrance to the downtown branch of Bank of America. The protest included a large, lively group of concerned citizens dressed as canaries and polar bears. Activists carried signs and banners that read: "Bank of America Stop Funding Climate Change," "Bank of America Stop Mountaintop Removal," "No Coal, No Nukes, No Kidding" "Bank of America Climate Criminal."
Bank of America has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to companies that run and are planning to build new power plants, such as Florida Power and Light. Between 2005 and 2007, Bank of America facilitated nearly $1 billion in loans to Massey Energy and Arch Coal, two of the largest companies responsible for the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. This form of mining literally blasts the tops off of mountains to get at thin seems of coal that lay beneath. Mountaintop removal coal mining has permanently destroyed over 500 square miles of mountains and buried over 1,200 miles of streams in West Virginia alone.
link | video Environmental protesters gathered at Bank of America and Pritchard Park on Monday afternoon protesting the bank's business with coal-fired power plants. (7,547 KB)
Monday, August 13 2007 @ 6:24 PM EDT **UPDATE: Asheville: 5 arrested protesting bank of America's investments in coal and climate change.Asheville Police Department uses electric shock on locked down protesters.link
We would like to clarify statements that were made about the Asheville Police Department (APD) using tazers against participants in the action against climate change and mountaintop removal at Bank of America yesterday.
The Climate Convergence sent out a press release saying that people locked down inside the bank were subject to electrocution shocks from tazers, based on the accounts of witnesses inside the bank. Now that the protestors are out of jail, we have learned that this was an inaccurate conclusion based on reasonable suspicion. One protester was heard screaming while pinned down by large group of officers and subjected to excruciating pain compliance holds right after the police were heard yelling back and forth to each asking "Who has a tazer? Get a tazer!" Many of the officers on the scene were equipped with electrocution devises, along with rubber bullets, chemical weapons, dogs, and training in torture techniques. In addition, a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who attempted to check on the safety of the protesters after hearing shouts from officers about tazers was not allowed to do so.
The APD has a history of using tazers, widely recognized as a form of torture and the cause of several deaths around the country, on nonviolent protesters. In light of increased use of paramilitary tactics by local police forces in civilian situations, such conclusions are to be expected. We reported information we thought to be accurate at the time; in light of new information, we apologize for any inaccuracies we reported.
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