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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Environment : Protest Activity

MTR/G8 Protest Breaking News

4:00 PM
Everyone is marching back to Monroe Park. After a confrontation and negiotations with the police, the people on lockdown agreed to unlock in exchange for not being arrested. The people blockading the entrance to the parking garage also conceded to avoid arrest.

3:30 PM
Three people are still on lockdown at the entrance of Massey Corp. with another six or seven linking arms in front of them in solidarity. A line of riot police with shields, face plates, etc. are begining to form about a block away from the demonstrators. No police action has taken place. 25 people are sitting or standing on sidewalk directly in front of the cops and the Massey entrance and another 11 or 12 people blocking the entrance to the parking garage displaying a large banner. The atmosphere remains festive with drums, whistles and speakers.

9 protesters, with the "Stop Destroying Us" banner, have moved to the Main Street parking garage, which Massey employees have been exiting from. 70-100 protestors remain at Massey headquarters, including the folks still locked down.

3:08 PM
Massey Corp. is sending its employees home early due to the protests.

3:05 PM
To discourage police from moving on them, protestors have moved 2 banners to face the police presence -- "Massey is Destroying Us" "Industrial Capitalism". People have also moved plastic police barricades onto the sidewalks between themselves and the police. Protestors' bikes are lined up along 4th, also as a preventative measure. 20 riot cops have assembled a block away on the corner of Franklin Street and 4th.

3:00 PM
The police have informed protestors that their march permit has now officially expired. Jeff Winder addressed the crowd asking them how they wanted to respond and the almost universal consensus was for the protest to continue. Larry Gibson was able to hand off a list of demands to an unknown representative inside the building. Protesters are demanding a meeting with Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey, or someone else with decision making authority at the Corporation before they will disperse.

2:40 PM
Report from Dave, a street medic:
Police are making manuevers, with more equipped police arriving with gas masks in tow, but not on. There are only 20 police visible, but he's aware that there are more around every corner. The crowd of protestors has remained with those locked down in front of Massey, with energy steady. Some protesters are using bullhorns to address Massey corporate leaders on the inside.

Report from Aaron, RVA IMC editor:
Larry Gibson is going to be allowed to go into the Massey headquarters to meet with coal company representatives. Larry is going to tell them to come outside and meet with the protesters directly.

2:05 PM
Call from locked-down protester:
"We're here in solidarity with people of West Virginia and Appalachia, whose homes and lives are being destroyed by Massey coal company. Massey has a processing plant right next to an elementary school, where many children suffering from asthma because of this. We want Massey to immediately stop processing coal near the school, and to stop mountain top removal. We are also here in solidarity with the G8 protests in Scotland."

2:00 PM
The police stopped several protesters from hanging a banner from a traffic light that read: "Massey Is Destroying Us." There were no arrests.

1:55 PM
A lockdown has just taken place directly in front of Massey's front door on 4th Street. There are 3 lock boxes, 4 people locked down to 2 heavy paper mache mountains. 12 people have linked arms in solidarity, including Larry Gibson of West Virginia, whose family has lived in the mountains there for hundreds of years. The 300-person crowd remains. Police are not reacting yet, but are blocking the headquarters doors with their bicycles. (muna)

1:45 PM
The first wave of protesters have reached the Massey building, loud and boisterous.

1:35 PM
The march has reached 3rd and Franklin in front of the Richmond Times Dispatch building. The RTD is heavily guarded with a strong police presence. The police are lining the streets in large numbers, as well as being spotted on rooftops and blocking alleys and turn offs, but not displaying aggressive behavior.

1:30 PM
Marchers have passed the Jefferson hotel, an important landmark and the mid-way point between Monroe Park and Massey headquarters. They're chanting "king coal, off with his head," handing out flyers to curious and generally supportive bystanders. Police presence is still light.

1:15 PM
The march to Massey corporate headquarters has begun, pausing at the intersection of Belvidere and Franklin. Numbers holding strong in the vacinity of 300. So far the police presence is fairly light with five officers on bikes keeping their distance and two cruisers trailing the march. People are drumming and spirits remain high.

1:00 PM
At last minute, Governor Warner of Virginia asked West Virginia residents and MTR activists to a meeting. 6-7 are meeting with him right now, with 4-5 at the rally. (muna)

12:30 PM
The crowd in Monroe Park has grown to nearly 300 people. The scene is festive, lively and diverse. Residents of Coal River Valley are addressing the gathering, sharing their experience living under the shadow of Massey's aggressive mining operations. The sound of drums, whistles and bells fill the air. Children are playing in the grass while anarchists, Appalachia residents and earth lovers stand amid colorful, paper mache puppets and hand painted banners with slogans such as "Industrial Capitalism is killing our people." (voice)

12:18 AM July 8
The rally has started with approximately 250 people present. (aaron)

11:15 AM July 8
The legal observer training has wrapped up, the free breakfast is gone, and people are heading across to Monroe Park for the 12noon rally. 60-70 people within sight. (muna)

10:30 AM July 8
Opening events last night at the convergence point saw 80-100 people in attendence for a free meal, benefit show, and planning meeting. The mood was calm, with participates in good spirits and well organized. At 1am, after most people were settled into sleep, three police officers came by the Pace Center, double-checking on the legality of folks being there. The incident passed without incident, with the cops leaving after their simple questions were answered. (muna)

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