Protestors, police amass in downtown Asheville

Protestors, police amass in downtown Asheville-attachment0

***UPDATED TUESDAY, 11:30 a.m.: This morning the Asheville Police Department issued a release with details on yesterday’s events, saying that five activists in all were arrested. Regarding allegations that officers used tasers on arrestees, the release says: “Despite claims in a press release from the group ‘Climate Convergence,’ police officers did not deploy Tasers at any point during the protest, which officers said was otherwise orderly.” Of the five persons arrested, two are from Asheville, one is from Burnsville, one is from Florida and one is from Massachusetts. See the full text of the release just beneath the news story below.***

With chants of “Stop mountaintop removal, it kills!” and “No more coal!” some 40 protesters gathered around the Bank of America located on Patton Avenue this afternoon.

Several other protesters, some of whom had locked themselves together around the neck, entered the building; at least four were arrested. Several activists said they believed that some inside the building had been tasered, and others complained that the arrestees were treated roughly.

The Asheville Police Department arrived with some 18 officers in riot gear, three K-9 officers and 19 other personnel, as well as at least 25 police cars, blocking the entrance to the bank and entering it to remove the protesters. The outside protest, including people waving banners and dressed as canaries and polar bears, then moved across the street to Pritchard Park.

“We’re here protesting Bank of America’s funding of mountaintop removal coal mining, specifically Massey Energy, one of our big criminals in the mountaintop-removal arena,” said Reagan Richmond, a spokesperson for the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action, which organized the demonstration. “What they’re doing in Appalachia is extremely devastating to the environment and the economy of this area.”

Bank of America officials have said that the bank’s critics are ignoring all the company has done to support green-business programs. This past March, for example, BOA launched a $20 billion initiative to support environmental-business practices, green their facilities, and facilitate carbon trading.

One protester, who identified himself as “Andrew,” said he heard “high-pitched shrieking” after seeing police wielding tasers.

“They were taken out of the bank, we hope to jail, [and] we hope they’re not hurt. The person I saw was handled pretty roughly,” Richmond said. Xpress is attempting to obtain comment from police authorities about the activists’ allegations.

City Council candidate Lindsey Simerly was among those attending the protest. She told Xpress beforehand that she believes that grass-roots efforts are needed to confront climate change.

APD Capt. Tim Splain talked to Xpress in front of Bank of America after the demonstration had moved to the park.

Splain noted the “four or five” demonstrators who had locked themselves inside the bank had been arrested, and at the time, at least one had been transported to jail.

“They are free to use the park,” Splain said. “We are not concerned with [practicing] the freedom of speech, just blocking the road or someone getting hurt or damaging property.”

Due to the number of police vehicles, traffic on Patton was blocked. Nearby business owners and pedestrians warily took in the action, some of them yelling at the protestors, “Get a job!” and “Take a bath!”

From Richmond’s perspective, the protest went well, she said as it was winding down.

“There was no police brutality against the general protesters,” she said. “It would have been nice to have the people inside not arrested, but that’s a risk you run when you do this—and that makes a statement too, that we’re serious about our future and about climate change.”

Earlier, standing outside the bank, a protester who identified herself only as “Hattie,” said that the stakes are high.

“Coal is a chief contributor to climate change and if we don’t shape up our act soon, by 2050 we’re talking massive extinctions,” she said. “We’re talking the death of the planet here. Bank of America is a cog in this machine.”

While some questioned the large police response, Splain said that preparing the riot team is the standard procedure whenever a sizable demonstration occurs. “We prep them every time we hear about something like this,” he said.

The riot team, Splain added, suits up inside the police station, awaiting orders. This time was the first since the immigration rally last year that the team has made a public appearance.

“Usually, they stay in the station and are never seen,” Splain said.

The Southeast Convergence for Climate Action, a week-long gathering near Brevard from Aug. 8 to 14, was part of a series of international rallies protesting industry practices related to climate change. It included groups that have campaigned against mountaintop-removal coal mining and the nuclear-power industry. The press announcement for the convergence noted that “direct action” would be a central theme, with the overall aim of “building a no-compromise climate justice movement.”

Richmond said that the conference had been under surveillance all weekend, including “lots of helicopter fly-overs,” and that “last night, they started piling cops onto both sides of the road [nearby]. Today, as we were leaving, they followed everyone out.”

This morning, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported that participants would stage a protest today outside the Progress Energy plant in Buncombe County. Splain said that he and his officers were there as well, and evidently any plans to protest there were abandoned.

— With reporting by Rebecca Bowe, Jon Elliston, David Forbes and Brian Postelle

————————————————————————————————————————————
ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESS RELEASE
————————————————————————————————————————————

For Immediate Release
Aug. 14, 2007
Asheville Police Department
Contact: Sgt. Liz Budd
Phone: 251-4091

Five arrested in downtown protest
ASHEVILLE – Asheville police on Monday, Aug. 13 arrested five people for trespassing, failure to disperse and resisting arrest in a downtown protest.
At 2:10 p.m. Monday, APD received a call about a disturbance in front of the Bank of America, located at 68 Patton Ave.
Sgt. Liz Budd arrived to find a small crowd of people holding signs outside the bank to protest its business investments. Bank officials met Sgt. Budd at the door, saying there were people inside who had chained themselves together in the lobby.
Sgt. Budd asked those people what their purpose was and they said they intended to remain chained there until the Bank of America apologized for “funding the coal industry.”
Sgt. Budd repeatedly asked the subjects to leave the property and advised them of the legal ways in which they could continue their protest elsewhere. Bank officials also asked the three to leave, but they refused.
Other protesters began to enter the bank and also refused to leave. Some of them also used bicycle chains to lock themselves together.
Officials from the Asheville Fire Department used bolt cutters to release the subjects for arrest by the APD.
Despite claims in a press release from the group “Climate Convergence,” police officers did not deploy Tasers at any point during the protest, which officers said was otherwise orderly.

The following were charged in Monday’s incident:
—Jacob Elliot Stockwell, birth date 8/8/84, of 15 Sunny Ridge Road, Burnsville
The Buncombe County magistrate advised defendant not to trespass the premises of 68 Patton Ave.

—George Michael Silva, birth date 4/23/87, of 4 Dundee St., Asheville
Magistrate advised defendant not to trespass on any Bank of America property

—Alison Gail Self, birth date 3/13/87, 4 Dundee St, Asheville
Magistrate advised defendant not to trespass at 68 Patton Ave

—Noah Ben Hurowitz, birth date 2/4/90, 123 Clairmont Ave., Arlington Mass.

—Peter Evan Tsolkas, birth date unknown (subject would not give information), 822 N. Charles St., Lake Worth, Fla.

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49 thoughts on “Protestors, police amass in downtown Asheville

  1. Jeff McKinley

    There was police brutality that occurred at the action. Protesters who were locked down, and unable to unlock themselves were subjected to torture in the form of electric shock from tazers. The APD used this force in an attempt to get them to do something they were physically unable to comply with (unlock themselves).
    Similar treatment of protesters in “lock downs” has in the past been ruled as cruel and unusual punishment by the courts.
    In those instances protesters have won monetary settlements against police.
    The unethical use of tazers against those not resisting, or threatening police, is both a violation of police procedure and human rights.
    This treatment is similar to the treatment of prisoners in places like Abu Ghraib, and the APD most likely will be held accountable for their actions.
    Protest organizers will be exploring legal recourse and filing official complaints of brutality in this case.

  2. But why were they protesting coal mining in North Carolina, we have no coal mines?

    sounds like the police were just doing their jobs.

  3. Jeff

    Now some needy family will go cold because the protestors took a natural resource and converted it for political gain. They then turned it into a weapon and heaved this precious resource at another human being. How insensitive these people are that miners died this week so they could have their little hissy fit.

    2 solutions:

    1-Watch the History Channel.

    2-Get a daytime income producing activity.

  4. DD

    Riot gear meets Canary Costumes.

    So, far so good.

    But, there is the pesky matter of history. We have been down this road before. The issue was different the riot gear then looked national guardish because it was. The general accounts of that day in 1970 report no canary costumes.

    Does anyone remember Kent State?
    http://www.library.kent.edu/page/11247

    It’s all about potential and possibility.

  5. Got a job?

    “get a job. Take a bath.”
    wow, not sure if it more shocking that people still repeat such stereotypical comments or that people report on them as news.
    Do your job xpress. There were as many opinions in the park as there were people. Why pick this one to report on. What does in demonstrate? Something about the protest? Something about the bystanders? Something about the reporting?
    Does xpress think those involved with the protest were homeless, jobless and in need of a bath?
    Did they hear that from the fine, clean, upstanding, hard working residents of Pritchard Park?
    At any protest in the past 50 years, for any issue in the past 50 years, a reporter can, and often does find a bystander who says exactly what you reported. It does not make it news.
    I heard people in the park thinking the police were crazy for rolling out that many cops for a protest featuring canaries, and polar bears.
    I heard people in the park say that its good that people have ideas and stand for something, and yes some disagreed.
    But I heard a lot of different opinions besides “get a job and take a bath.”

  6. twain

    A letter to WLOS….about the protest August 13,2007 in Asheville.

    (originally posted at ‘flickr’ and forwarded to ‘Ashvegas’…and ‘Mountain Xpress’)

    To: News13 WLOS

    I wrote this after watching your news tonight. I hope that someone in your news department will read it…and know…I am not alone. You have thousands of loyal viewers who stay loyal because you are ‘our station’. However…… I am sure you agree that you,too,always hope that….WLOS CAN AND WILL DO A BETTER JOB serving WNC

    *****

    My comments are not about the protest in Asheville…rather….my words are about the television coverage. Thank you to ‘Ashvegas’ for posting the ‘flickr’ photos…and for continually informing the world about our local version of ‘media-ocrity’.

    The greater Asheville area (I live 50 miles NE of the city)… is only served by one ‘full-service’ television station. WLOS is a competent if un-spectacular Sinclair Broadcasting station…which reaps the rewards of being the ‘station of record’ for some 300,000 consumers. I am sure it has a 70% penetration rate as the main televised news (and advertising) source for many, many people in WNC…and a few folks in the Upstate of SC…where it’s three competitor’s in the market are based.

    That sets the stage for the coverage of today’s protest.

    WLOS’ longtime co-anchor, Darcel Grimes, opened the 11PM edition of the news with word that the protest has caused ‘CHAOS’ in downtown Asheville. Chaos?….I HAD to watch the coverage…as the 6PM news had not featured any chaos. I figured something new and ‘BIG’ had happened.

    OOPS ! I must have forgotten I was watching what Blogger-Extraordinaire ‘Ashvegas’ calls…..the WLOSers ! NOTHING NEW HAD HAPPENED since the 6 PM news. Except…some pea- brained editor or station manager had told ‘Diva Darcel’ to ‘punch- up’ the opening at 11PM.

    May we all hope…and pray…that our media…while hopefully a neutral source of unbiased news…comes down on the side of THE PROTESTORS..in matters such as this First Amendment protected demonstration. We have but one planet…and regardless of one’s take on ‘Global Warming’…the brave people who risk arrest through civil disobedience do so to WAKE UP THE NATION to the ills of corporate greed and the anachronistic fossil fuel-based businesses that continue to spew pollutants into our air and water.

    And…in Asheville….where an over-zealous Buncombe County Deputy recently trampled on the constitution…and the Rights of a local couple to protest this nation’s abhorrently corrupt administration…. the sight of police dogs and helmets and stern-faced law enforcement officers must make many who followed the ‘upside -down flag’ protest the week before Bele Chere 2007….wonder at our ‘Paris of the South’.

    It has never been more true about our beloved regional ‘capital’…THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING. But then….as Darcel Grimes & WLOS reported tonight…there was CHAOS today in Pritchard Park.

    …..Protect and revere the FIRST AMENDMENT….or, surely, we are lost.

    Thank you to the Asheville Police Department for keeping the dogs at bay….and to Buncombe County Sheriff (or in Darcel-speak…SURE-IVE)…..Van Duncan…. for speaking with the protestors outside the Jail… and thank you to ‘flickr’, ‘Ashvegas’….and photgrapher Liz Veazey…for shedding light on our corner of the world.

  7. dankster

    Earth can no longer afford the RICH !!! Asheville police department has over stepped there bounds by tazering peaceful protesters. I hope the APD gets whats coming to them ONE big law suit !. – look at the way the police department is dressed why are they so scared of peaceful protester’s. some would say they were doing there job.I would say the police department is trying to silence free speech through fear. – Jeff – Those miners died trying too earn the almighty dollar bill (greed).those miners are not heroes – nor are the law enforcement officials & Military officials governing us like we need to be babysat.

  8. The protesters definitely do need babysitters. How much did this cost the taxpayers, having to respond with all those police officers? How much business was lost over a protest that means little to the vast majority of Asheville area residents? What about the rights of the majority here?

    The protest was ill-conceived, uncivil, unnecessary, futile, babyish, far from mainstream concerns. The protesters should be forced to reimburse the city for the expense they caused.

  9. dankster

    sorry Author I feel you are wrong – If they ( the protest ) do not speak out who will.hmmm ? ‘police statement’ – “We are not concerned with [practicing] the freedom of speech, just blocking the road or someone getting hurt or damaging property.” who ultimately blocked the road – answer – Due to the number of police vehicles, traffic on Patton was blocked. also Who ultimately caused bodily harm by tazering them – answer – the ‘Police department’ sound’s like the police are making pitiful excuses in This situation. What the protester’s were protesting is relevant too all human kind on Mother Earth..

  10. dankster

    Richmond said that the conference had been under surveillance all weekend, including “lots of helicopter fly-overs,” and that “last night, they started piling cops onto both sides of the road [nearby]. – how pathetic these protester’s are American citizens – if you do not believe Martial Law police state is not an intimate threat – you had better think again. Money is the root of evil.

  11. Ron Paul DOES NOT support this type of lawbreaking. Not do most of his supporters. Forget about how noble or expedient the cause might be, these idiots were just common criminals breaking the law, costing the taxpayers money, inconveniencing law-abiding citizens, and putting the public in danger. I trust the proverbial book will be thrown at them in court.

    They were simply WRONG.

  12. Anne

    Although my personal sympathies lie with folks who are so concerned about the state of our environment that they are willing to take ‘direct action’ and risk arrest…I think a more effective strategy, one that may have reached more people who tend not to be sympathetic to confrontational demonstrators, would have been to distribute informational leaflets about the cost of mountain top removal and its corporate supporters outside the bank, wearing costumes for dramatic effect, holding a press conference and distributing a press release. I am reading too many posts of folks who are deriding the demonstrators, not understanding their concerns and judgmentally dismissing them and their cause. I also think the police overreacted and should be held accountable. We are living in an environment where speech is becoming more and more threatening to the state and the state is often reacting inappropriately. We need more concerned and engaged young people who see beyond themselves to the critical state we are in. Thanks, demonstrators for your efforts.

  13. halo_in_reverse

    I would like to know the demographics of all the protesters. It said in the article that 2 was from Asheville, 1 from Burnsville, 1 from Florida and 1 from Massachusetts. Hmmmmmmm makes one wonder doesn’t it?

  14. mtndow

    Hold the Floridiot and the Masshole as foriegn-non-combatants. Have their parents come get them. The others can do some community service. Pick up roadside trash wearing the bird and bear costumes.
    China is putting up two coal burning electric plants every week. Try going there to protest and experience real human rights violation.
    Go Organic. Grow a brain.

  15. Southeast Climate Convergence

    CORRECTION

    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.

    In Defense of a Living Planet,
    The Southeast Convergence for Climate Action

  16. How about apologizing for all the trouble and expense you caused the people of Western North Carolina, which does not have a single danged coal mine.

  17. jameson

    “China is putting up two coal burning electric plants every week.”

    First off, how does that make it ok for the US to continue burning coal? 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Second, China is building a plant a week largely to feed the US consumption. Anytime, you buy something “Made in China” which is probably quite often, you are paying for something that was produced using electricity from those power plants. Much of China’s emissions are essentially “outsourced” US emissions. The whole “what about China” argument doesn’t carry very far when you recognize this basic fact.

  18. dankster

    They (the protesters) did not cause trouble or expense to the tax paying people of Western north Carolina they peacefully assembled all though I do not personally agree with the action of chaining yourself to private property – Ultimately The Police caused all the commotion and harm acting like Bully’s ! Yes you are right North Carolina does not have any coal mines, but the east coast has plenty. What do you think Author state lines divide and keep us safe from what is going on in neighboring states.If people do not take a stand corporations will take advantage and walk all over all of us – just for a profit – Author, It’s all relevant .I for one do not think they need to apologies for standing up for Mother Earth. The police department should be ashamed of themselves for taking drastic measures against peaceful everyday common American protesters.

  19. Anne

    Unfortunately, I think the demonstrators’ important message got lost in their choice of tactics. I wonder at how effective their actions were in the long term effort to stop mountaintop removal. The media seems to have focused on the civil disobedience itself and not helped to educate the public about the environmental issue at hand. I think one has to be quite strategic in the use of civil disobedience for it to be effective in raising consciousness and improving situations. Perhaps these young people were eager to put into practice what they had learned at their convergence. I still say a press conference with information about Bank of America’s involvement with mountaintop removal coal mining, hand-outs to folks coming in and out of the bank, perhaps a request for a meeting with bank officials, would have done more to stay focused on the issue rather than the dramatics of the cd action which, from what I have read thus far, has not been adequately explained.

  20. Dankster, the point of contention here is WHAT the protesters did, not WHY they did it.

    Never mind the validity or nonvalidity of their cause, instead of protesting legally they employed tactics that attempt to change the majority opinion by intimidation and inconvenience. There is no difference in principle between what they did and an Islamofascist blowing him or herself up.

    The protesters were just plain WRONG… Worse, as mentioned above, is was BAD PR for their cause. Just durn stupid wannabe ecoterrorists.

  21. Participant

    I see a lot of concern about the message not being conveyed properly to the public, and waste of resources because of this, etc.

    What you need to remember is that the aim was not just to convey information to the public, but actually it was mainly meant to send a message to Bank of America that they should stop funding big coal companies, since those companies are destroying our atmosphere, and even, in many cases, our mountains.

    The general public, UNLESS they stand up and protest against these things, are powerless to stop them. Therefore, the real message was to the corporations themselves; to put them on their toes, to make them realize that someone is, indeed, watching where they put their money, and that these concerned individuals care enough to get arrested for it. If nothing else, this will make them think twice, and if it happens over and over, maybe even change their practices– they don’t want to upset their customers, and coal companies can’t operate without the banks.

    Bad publicity for them is good for the cause in general. So, perhaps the message was not conveyed well by the media, but there was definitely a message sent to BOA, and we can be happy about that. In that sense, our protest was successful.

  22. No Participant, you are deluded. Why not go up to the coal mines and protest? You’ll find the company police up there a lot less nice than our hardworking, underpaid Asheville police… who need to be out chasing drug dealers instead of wasting time on you weirdo ecoterror-freaks. The only difference between you and a common criminal is that you can probably spell ‘criminal.’ … but, congrats, you are one if, indeed, you participated in the mess at the bank.

  23. american

    hello,
    We live America. This country was founded by patriots dressed in silly costumes interfering with government and corporate operations and, gasp, sometimes even destroying property. (hint – remember the Boston Tea Party?) So, if you don’t like protests, protestors, etc… i suggest you move to China. They don’t allow that kind of thing over there.

    As for the “eco-terror” label – how dare you cheapen the memories of those who have fallen at the hands of real terrorists by throwing that about so carelessly. these bunny huggers have never hurt any person in the name of their causes. our government has more in common with the terrorists than these folks (hint – violence, guns, lies, etc…). get a grip, get a job, read some books.

    but, perhaps you are the kind of folks who would have supported the British Crown in 1776 because of your distaste for protest and your sucking up to authority.

  24. Nyle

    WOW! It is so typical that the author is such a bigot! Why don’t you WAKE UP and smell what you have been shovelling! And the majority is almost always wrong.
    The brainwashed do not know they are brainwashed.
    SNAP!
    you have been de-programmed.

  25. So…..let’s see….
    A group of outsiders comes to Asheville to raise awareness about the harmful effects of coal……
    They chose a small branch bank in Asheville to communicate a message to some bank President whose probably never even stepped foot in Asheville….
    then….instead of talking about the environment,they cry “police brutality” and attempt a national fundraising effort based on unsubstantiated cries of excessive use of Tazers and torture tactics….
    then…..when forced to back up their claims of taser use, they backpedal and admit that they fabricated the whole story about tasers…….

    And these people wonder why they have no credibility ??????

    Supposedy they spent a full week encamped in planning this farce…..and convinced some number of people to pay good money to learn how to dress up like a polar bear and get arrested….

    Meanwhile legitimate environmental groups have to spend time convincing everyone that not ALL environmentalists dress up like polar bears, canaries, get arrested and then raise funds under false pretenses….

    I urge folks (like me) who are truly concerned about the environment and want to find REAL solutions to the challenges we face…to support the many respected local, regional, and national environmental groups who have a proven track record of responsibility, credibility, and results.

    We can’t afford to let juvenile publicity stunts such as occurred this past week to hinder the real work to be done….

  26. another participant

    dontalley, it’s not just a bunch of outsiders. There’s a core group of people living right here in Asheville who organized the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action. People from all over the southeast (and the whole east coast) came to this area for a week of workshops and trainings and finally to do this action. This is coinciding with the West Coast Convergence for Climate Action in Oregon, and the UK Convergence for Climate Action at Heathrow Airport outside of London.

    The Bank of American in downtown Asheville was the closest regional headquarters to the convergence. This action was part of an ongoing campaign against Bank of America that won’t stop until they pull out their investments from the filthy coal industry, including companies that blow up mountains (like Massey Energy and Arch Coal) as well as utilities companies that are building new coal-fired power plants, one of the biggest causes of global warming. There have been several actions at different Bank of America branches and offices across the country, so this is not an isolated incident.

    Participants in this campaign have dialogued with and met with the leadership of Bank of America, and will continue to until they agree to stop funding coal. We know they’re scared, we know we’re hurting their reputation, and before long they’ll realize that it’s cheaper to divest from coal than it is to continue losing money from us. Other campaigns have succeeded in convincing Bank of America to divest from irresponsible industries, and we will too.

  27. Robert

    Hey kids, I understand what you protesters are saying but showing up to protest at Bank of America seemed a bit reaching. You should have gone to the coal companies to protest if that was what you were protesting. Would you protest in front of my house because I’m a consumer and every time I go to the grocery store a portion of the sales tax I pay goes to fund the Iraq War? I don’t like the war, but I also don’t like not having toilet paper. So unfortunatly through sales taxes I support something I hate. But don’t protest me, protest the President. Just like you all probably hate the fact that you, just like everybody else, support the coal companies: Every time you flip the lightswitch.

  28. participant claims:
    “…..Participants in this campaign have dialogued with and met with the leadership of Bank of America, and will continue to until they agree to stop funding coal.”

    Meeting and dialoguing is a postive step…..but with all due respect, if you think that Bank of America Leadership is dialoguing with you because of publicity stunts…your leaders have deluded you….

    Participant states:
    “…. We know they’re scared, we know we’re hurting their reputation, ….”

    Again your leaders have deluded you. Publicity stunts like dressing up like canaries does not provoke fear in the souls of bank presidents…never has….never will….

    The only reputations which you are hurting are the thousands upon thousands of legitimate environmental groups who have established credibility and are out there creating solutions and solving problems instead of dressing up like canaries…

    Participant states:
    “Other campaigns have succeeded in convincing Bank of America to divest from irresponsible industries, and we will too. ”

    Again your leaders have deluded you. Campaigns based on self-serving publicity stunts have rarely if ever suceeded in swaying huge corporations to change their investment policies.
    However, other well-planned and responsible campaigns have succeeded on numerous fronts.

    At some point, I’m confident that Bank of America WILL change their investment policies….but in spite of what your leaders tell you….it will NOT be related to publicity stunts like you pulled in Asheville.

    There are lots of other folks who are WORKING for change at Bank of America and any number of corporations across America. THESE groups have succeeded using proven strategies and tatics which have replaced the failed strategies of 30 years ago which your group has employed.

    I can claim that the sun came up this morning because I stood on a mountaintop facing the east and chanted from dusk until dawn…..saying that my actions caused the sun to rise can make me feel powerful and successful…..but it would be delusional…..

  29. plan b

    dontalley …. bravo,
    thanks for expressing a reasonable view of how the world works. It will be a great day for Mother Earth when activists on Her behalf grow up and move passed silly kindergarten antics like chaining themselves to things. It’s self-inflated preaching to the choir. It’s sad that this is the culmination of a week of training and workshops.
    As for the riot gear, if I were going into a “protest” situation as the uniformed authority figure, I’d want a helmet to know someone wasn’t going to split my skull from behind with a reused beer bottle. Civil disobedience means doing things that are illegal, that’s the point, expect the police to arrest you. Any use of brutality should be investigated, but not used as evidence your actions are right or working.
    And as someone with a biodiesel vehicle and solar power at work, I feel this type of “action” is hurting my reputation. Please stop.

  30. american

    Mr. Talley,
    me thinks that you not as well versed in ongoing environmental struggles as you think you are. You claim that campaigns that target corporations to change their investment strategies don’t work. You are wrong. There have been numerous campaigns against numerous multinational corporations that have resulted in changed policies. Many of these campaigns involved so-called publicity stunts that you seem to disaprove of. You can start your reeducation by checking out the websites of the Rainforest Action Network, the Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics. With enough research, (something you obviously need a little practice at) you will find a long and storied history of “publicity stunts” and their related campaigns that have affected corporate behaviour.

    There are also numerous actions being taken in the coalfields and other places. See the websites of Mountain Justice Summer, Appalachian Voices, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Save Our Cumberland Mountains and more for all sorts of actions regarding the coal industry.

    Also, y’all need to stop complaining about the messengers and start doin’ something about the destroyers. If BOA and Massey, etc… where not destroying Appalachian Mountains, there wouldn’t be these kinds of true blue American protests that you can’t seem to handle.

    And again, if you and other commenters don’t like this kind of protest, move to China. This country was founded by people dressing up in silly costumes and pulling “publicity stunts”. All of your African American and Women friends have the right to vote as the result of years of “publicity stunts”. You have a 40 hour work week and any kids you have or know don’t have to work in slave like conditions thanks to “publicity stunts”. Maybe you need to reread the history of this country. Anything good here was accomplished with the help of “publicity stunts.” You can start with Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the U.S.”

    If y’all don’t like the environmental rebellion that is happening across the planet, too bad. There is more at stake here than your “reputations” or “law” and “order” and being perceived as being “reasonable”. The planet is being destroyed to the point that it might not be able to support complex life forms. This is an international crisis. Instead of complaining about folks doing the best they can with what tools they have maybe y’all can detail what you are doing and make alternative recommendations?

    ’cause all i’ve heard outta y’all is a bunch of whining and complaining so far. Got some better ideas on how to stop the destruction? lets see you put them in action. You can even post a story about it on the internet. Let’s see stories about how all your lobbying, letter writing and “being reasonable” are helpiing to solve this crisis. Put up or shut up.

  31. plan b

    thanks for the summer reading list american; read it years ago.
    “Put up” this; I look at the log in my own eye not the splinter in my neighbors.
    I drive a renewable and sustainable fuel vehicle, biodiesel, work at a corporate owned business with organic gardens, solar power, recycling and compost bins for all. I choose to invest my income in developing energy companies with solutions to energy problems like Ballard power that develops clean residential fuel cells and Xcel Energy which is heavily supporting Minnesota wind energy. And believe it or not, Duke power that allows net metering for local residents who want to sell solar power back into the grid!
    “Shut up” cause your over the top righteousness preaching puts off main stream people who do care and are willing to change and make a difference with reasonable conversations. It belittles the millions of Americans that work within responsible corporations and businesses.
    So if you want to judge me fine; go dress up like a canary, smoke a fat one and pretend your doing something constructive cause you make the word “environmentalist” a dirty label.

    And I’m sure that all the activists walked or biked from Brevard up to the protest.

  32. dave

    if you still dont believe we live in a police state…

    then how do you explain our local police officers dressing more and more like robo-cop?

    do you really think this creeping totalitarianism isnt real?

    like they are just going to enforce their heavey-handed tactics on the bad people, tho, right?

  33. l

    The ALF and the ELF have jointly claimed credit for several raids including a November 1997 attack of the Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals near Burns, Oregon, where arson destroyed the entire complex resulting in damages in excess of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the June 1998 arson attack of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Damage Control Building near Olympia, Washington, in which damages exceeded two million dollars. The ELF claimed sole credit for the October 1998, arson of a Vail, Colorado, ski facility in which four ski lifts, a restaurant, a picnic facility and a utility building were destroyed. Damage exceeded $12 million. On 12/27/1998, the ELF claimed responsibility for the arson at the U.S. Forest Industries Office in Medford, Oregon, where damages exceeded five hundred thousand dollars. Other arsons in Oregon, New York, Washington, Michigan, and Indiana have been claimed by the ELF. Recently, the ELF has also claimed attacks on genetically engineered crops and trees. The ELF claims these attacks have totaled close to $40 million in damages.

    what if this were to happen in asheville?

  34. Dave, if you had to go out on the streets daily and risk your life amid all the drug dealers, crack heads, criminals and even misled, unruly, and thankfully ineffectual ecoterrorists out there, you’d want all the high tech protection possible.

    We are NOT in a police state and one reason is that we HAVE good, hardworking, brave law enforcement officers to keep the criminal element in check.

    Instead of denigrating them, say THANK YOU every time you see any of those courageous folk who serve and protect.

  35. Johnny P

    Repayment for police hours? I doubt the good folk at our local dept were formally invited to beat up some canary costumed and polar bear outfitted enlightened informers/Americans. I’m wondering why thousands were spent on hovering helicopters and motorcades to eves drop on the rift raft? Although the protesters’ tactics were unoriginal and overall ad-hysteria (nobody was really electroshocked) – it seems they made the press! And they got called dirty and unemployed by somebody else standing around doing nothing. Sounds like shabby coverage to me. Do the protesters have it right? Are we the ones standing around doing nothing while our world goes to shame?

  36. dave

    author,

    your optimism is cute. i will assume you are white, male, and middle aged. because if you weren’t, you would have a very different opinion of the po-lice.

    like the old black guy i saw tasered in the parking lot of the sherrif’s office the other day. he sure didnt look like he was ‘resisting arrest’

    you ever been ‘tasered’, author? i’d rather be hit with a night stick.

    no, nc doesnt have a coal plant, but if does have lots of B of A’s, which directly fund such operations as ‘mountaintop removal’ that destroy the eco-sysytem we share with our neighboring state of West virginia. on top of that,if you go stand over the clingman bridge for a while, you will see verrry long trains carrying that coal out of WV through our state. so, yes, it is all interconnected. i’m sure this is a difficult concept for you; that these states are actually united by wind, air, water, and land.

    as foolish and idealistic as you feel these folks are, at least they are brave enough to risk arrest to get your lazy, ill-informed self to *look* at the issues.

    i hope one day soon they some brave, foolish, naive idealistic folks block those trains.

  37. Civil Disobedience

    It seems that this protest was successful. It has been covered by several different members of the press, is being discussed in several different forums, scared the local police enough to drop their full force downtown, and pictures of the event are everywhere on popular picture hosting websites. I tip my cap to these protesters, and I am sure that our founding fathers would say the same thing. Maybe if you just worded your protest differently, the richer citizens would follow suit. How about… the usage of coal will ruin the view from your multi-million dollar mini-mansion… Just look up pollution and Mt. Mitchell if you want information on that. I am sure these people really don’t care. When they foul-up a part of the country, the just move to new ground. You can’t run forever people. Sooner or later you will be forced to wallow in your own slop.

  38. Lakota Denton

    It is disturbing that when people organize to make a statement that so many people go out of their way to ridicule and silence and insult them. 18 riot police, 30 police cars!? Perhaps people (police included) are jealous of authentic men and women who have the courage to speak out, and not hide behind their computer, or their so-called authority. But it certainly is easier to sit on the couch, drink beer, watch television and pretend that everything is just fine, and to sadly ridicule people practicing the rights that our country supposedly stands for. Turn off your TV, go participate in the the freedom of speech before the APD and their social minions eliminate that freedom……..and maybe you’ll start to have a different opinion of the importance of a “job” or a “shower”. The amount of police response is confirmation that public protest is a viable way to make change, and make a statement; why else is the APD so scared of peaceful protesters dressed up as puppets? The joke is on you, APD. You’re afraid of the people. You should be embarassed.

  39. rulindachat

    I love that Author talks about how the Asheville Police department was “wasting time” overreacting to a couple of protestors when they could have been “chasing out drugs”. I mean I understand that in your probably middle class probably european mind the police are our protectors and not the muscle for the rich…But to bring UP the war on drugs???!!! Are you being ironic??? It almost seems like you would say that to emphasize the fact that compared to the couple of hours spent by the APD “dealing” with these peaceful protestors the War on Drugs has been one of the greatest “wastes of time” in human history. I can sense some devils advocate in you Author..keep up the subversiveness!!!

  40. Dixie Dawg

    The pictures of the police in their “riot gear” is reminiscent of the officers and SWAT teams who patrol the World Trade Organization events. It’s a little unnerving to think that the police would resort to such drastic measures over a protest of this nature.

    To be perfectly blunt, though, this is not surprising. Our current administration is slowly, but surely pushing for a police state. More and more draconian laws are being passed and detention centers are being built in secret locations. A lot of people refuse to open their eyes to what is going on, but we are truly set up for martial law and a police state in the event of another catastrophe of any kind.

    I am not from Asheville, but have visited on numerous occasions and have found your town to be a lovely place to spend time as a tourist. The mountains, Biltmore Estate and shopping are wonderful and one would never guess that this type of police force was in place. I have been completely shocked by what is hiding up there in that beautiful mountain town.

    After doing much research on what is going on in the government for the last three years, I am starting to see so much of what I have read coming to pass, to include the “police state” mentality. I have a website and would not post a lot of the info for a long time for fear that a lot of it was just “conspiracy hype”; however, I see that it is no longer hype. It makes me wonder how many more cities and towns have this type of force who will show their face when least expected. Folks, enjoy your freedoms while you can – they may not last for long.

  41. Joanne

    I have been visiting my children in Asheville @four times a year and want to move there when i retire,But my dream city has been sliding away with my research into the mountaintop stripping in nearby states,your increasing air polution,and the attitudes of the wealthy pollutors moving in.I am afraid my idea of a earth conscience,organic growing,and environmentally sound city….was wrong.And now with your police acting like robo cops,well lets just say I need to do alot more searching.
    I am so sorry.

  42. Nam Vet

    These “protesters” are spoiled brat hypocrites. Now how did they arrive at the protest site? I assume by car…a mode of transportation that pollutes our environment. Do they use electricity at home? I assume YES. How is that electricity produced? In this part of the country, often by coal. There is the option of nuclear, but these same folks have cut that off. So what is their solution? That’s what I’d like to know. Anyone can WHINE. A person of substance can offer an alternative.

  43. Joe

    “18 officers in riot gear, three K-9 officers and 19 other personnel, as well as at least 25 police cars”

    Wow all that for 5 people. Seems strange to me. Especially since they can’t stop the gun fire at Pisgah or the projects by my house (I hear gunshots at least once a week). Send 18 officers in there and see how fast it changes. The priorities in this town are just crazy sometimes.

  44. Nam Vet

    I agree with the person who said these people are hypocrites. They whine about coal etc, yet they are oblivious to their own dependence on energy. They take it for granted. I respect the kind of protester who: does drive a car, uses no electricity except that produced through windmill or solar panel, etc etc. The “kids” who shutdown BofA were BRAINWASHED and incited at a gathering before coming to town. Why can’t people be more independent in their thinking than to be such pawns of rabble rousers? The bottom line is we live in a “gray area” society. NOTHING is pure save the INNER ESSENCE.

  45. sonjia

    Nam Vet,

    That person you are agreeing with is your post, two up.

    Good Job.

  46. dankster

    That is too funny. Nam Vet your oblivious to your last post. Nam Vet You were brainwashed and sent to Vietnam as a pawn to kill people over what ?.does that make you better. Do you personally know those ‘kids’ you are putting down. Do you know what they drive how they live?.

  47. sign...

    As absurd as Nam Vet is acting, as a participant in the action, I’ll respond anyway. No, we’re not oblivious to our dependance on energy. In fact, we’re very actively working to reduce that dependance both in ourselves and in our larger communities — actions like this, that educate people about where your electricity actually comes from, is only one of the ways we’re trying to help break the dependance. We conserve energy as much as possible. Most of us don’t drive cars regularly, we ride bikes instead. Those that do drive cars try to do it sparingly. We use compact florescent light bulbs. We buy local foods when we can afford it to not support the waste of transportation energy. We set up graywater systems in our houses, and we do laundry with cold water. We do a lot more than pranks at Bank of America branches, that’s just all you hear about.

    And the camp where all those kids were “brainwashed” was largely self-organized. Everyone that came contributed in some way. There weren’t leaders running it and blind followers taking all the workshops. The reason we were all there is because we basically all agree that it’s gone past the point where we can just sit and let the corporations (like coal companies and Bank of America) destroy our future.

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