Here's one way to make a scene: Lock yourself to a 500-pound potted plant inside a corporate building as others dance and sing loudly in the lobby. That's exactly what a group of activists did yesterday inside the Arch Coal headquarters in Creve Coeur. And the demonstration -- aimed at drawing attention to the impacts of coal corporations -- was disruptive enough that seven protesters were eventually arrested inside the building.
Prior to getting handcuffed the protestors released a flotilla of helium balloons inside the building's lobby. A sign dangling from the balloons read: "Your coal company kills."
"We need to escalate [our protests], because we need to win," says Arielle Klagsbrun, an organizer with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, or MORE.
In response, Arch Coal reps says that it respects the activists' right to protest -- and adds that coal is great for the U.S. economy.
Here's video from the demonstration.
"Seven people entered the Arch building and occupied space...blockading themselves and locking themselves to a 500-pound concrete potted plant," says Klagsbrun, who was at the demonstration but did not get arrested. "Interrupting business as usual."
MORE and an organization called Radical Action for Mountain Peoples' Survival, or RAMPS, organized the demonstration against Arch Coal, which is the second largest company of its kind in the U.S. and operates strip mines in Appalachia and other coal basins. The groups argue that strip mining is destructive and toxic and disproportionately impacts disadvantaged communities.
"I think the message came across," says Klagsburn, noting the "Your Coal Company Kills" sign the demonstrators brought inside via balloon. "It was clear why people were there."
Each arrested demonstrator's bail was set at $1,000.
Continue for more details on the demonstration and response from Arch Coal.