Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for climate camp

Climate Camp Critique Reader

Drax, 2006

Excellent Range of Articles contained here: cca_reader

Yeah, I know it’s 52 pages long, but at least for those of you who arent getting out much at the moment or

A) Think Climate Camp is a “wizard idea” and don’t see why it needs to change at all

B) Think Climate Camp used to be good but now has been hijacked by liberals

C) Didn’t know Climate Camp was Started by Anarchists

It’s an essential read.

Editorial:

In January & February 2010, the Camp for Climate Action will go through a period
of introspection as it works out where it shall go next. While in some ways the Camp has been a success, it has also come under a barrage of criticism from some quarters within the radical movements that spawned it.

To help this debate we have put together a set of resources and relevant articles to inform and spark discussion relating to this criticism. Our bias is obvious, though the opinions expressed are those of the authors alone.

Whether you agree with them or not, we believe they are worth taking on board. We hope at least that you feel confident answering their challenges, rather than just dismissing them.
Now is the time for the Camp to examine its politics in more depth, to work out just what it stands for. This is a cross-roads in its development, to continue down a path of ever increasing liberal, reformist approach, or to be the noisy radical, pointing out all the white elephants in the climate change debate. The future of the movement around the camp is being shaped here. The decisions being made now will have profound impacts on who is and who is not involved in the future.

The Camp for Climate Action grew out of the radical anarchist and environmental movements, a synthesis of the organisational skills developed at the Anti-G8 protest camp at Stirling, and the ecological direct action movements such as Earth First! The perception that emerges from these criticisms is this has been lost along the way. We accept that this booklet makes challenging reading and that we offer little in the way of solutions. These, we believe, must come from within the camp itself. However, it is apparent that there is a need for two things. Firstly, a greater visibility for the anarchist roots within the day to day life of the CCA process and proposals.
Secondly, and just as important, a more open and explicit critique of capitalism and how it is the root cause of climate change.

If we do neither out of fear of a mainstream media backlash, then we are reduced to being another NGO. Yet, the power of the Camp has always been the promise of a genuine alternative action in the face of prevarication and obstruction from governments and corporations – now is the time to spell that critique out and use it to build real alternatives, not legitimising the system we complain of. It was the strength of the Camp‟s founding critiques that gave it the boldness its subsequent successes have rested on.

Ultimately, the message of the Camp is a very radical one – that radical social change is needed, especially if we are to tackle of the root causes of climate change. The answer is not to water down our actions and our messages, but to be bolder than ever. That is the excitement and power that gives the Camp its life.

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Scotland Yard riot squad faces calls to end ‘culture of impunity’

tsg

No Cause For Complaint ?

What a surprise! : Of more than 5,000 complaints against squad, less than 0.18% were upheld

From The Guardian: 6/11/09:

Scotland Yard faced calls for an “ethical audit” of all officers in its controversial riot squad tonight after figures revealed that they had received more than 5,000 complaint allegations, mostly for “oppressive behaviour”.

Details of all allegations lodged against the Metropolitan police territorial support group (TSG) over the last four years reveal that only nine – less than 0.18% – were “substantiated” after an investigation by the force’s complaints department.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, were described as evidence of a “culture of impunity” that makes it almost impossible for members of the public to lodge successful complaints against the Met’s 730 TSG officers.

The TSG is a specialist squad that responds to outbreaks of disorder anywhere in the capital. It is under investigation for the most high-profile cases of alleged brutality at the G20 protests, including the death of Ian Tomlinson.

The unit came under renewed criticism this week after one of its officers was identified as a member of a team implicated in a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack on a Muslim man.

PC Mark Jones, 42, was one of six officers involved in an attack on Babar Ahmad, 34, who was punched, kicked, stamped on and strangled during his arrest at his home in Tooting, south London. The Met paid Ahmad £60,000 in damages earlier this year and accepted its officers were responsible for the attack, during which Ahmad, a terror suspect, was forced into the Muslim prayer position and told: “Where is your God now? Pray to him.”

A former Royal Marine, Jones has had 31 complaints lodged against him since 1993. Twenty-six were assault allegations, most of which had been lodged by black or Asian men, but none were substantiated.

They included a complaint from a man detained in a drug search in 2007 who, Ahmad’s lawyers told the high court, accused Jones of forcing him into a TSG van, placing him on his knees, grabbing his neck and spraying CS gas into his face.

Despite being identified in court by Ahmad’s lawyers as the officer who placed him in an “extremely dangerous” neck-hold, Jones faced no disciplinary action and returned to duty on Wednesday after being cleared in another case of alleged racially aggravated assault.

The TSG has been the subject of 5,241 allegations since August 2005. They include 376 allegations of discrimination and 977 complaints of “incivility”. More than 1,100 of the allegations concerned what members of the public said were “failures in duty”. However by far the largest number of complaints – 2,280 – were categorised as “oppressive behaviour”.

Just over 2,000 (38%) were “unsubstantiated” by the Met’s department for professional standards, while the rest were resolved at the police station, dismissed, discontinued or dealt with in other ways.

Senior Met officers say the TSG’s work, involving drug raids and demonstrations, means they are more likely to face complaints than other officers.

Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the force’s watchdog, said tonight the figures revealed TSG officers were “practically immune” from criticism in the force.

“The fact that less than 0.2% of complaints about the TSG succeed, suggest its officers are protected within the Met to the extent that there is a culture of impunity for their actions,” she said. “It’s time for an ethical audit and a thorough overhaul. They desperately need better training, rotation of personnel, and reduction of duties to make them fit for purpose.”

Fiona Murphy, Ahmad’s solicitor, said: “The figures either mean thousands of members of the public are taking the trouble to make fabricated complaints against the TSG, which seems unlikely, or there is a systemic problem with the complaints procedure that means it is virtually impossible for officers in the unit to be held to account for their actions.”

A high court order prevented identification of Jones as an officer involved in the Ahmad assault until the end of his separate criminal trial. On Tuesday jurors at Kingston crown court cleared Jones of racially and physically attacking two 16-year-old boys in a police van in June 2007.

The teenagers said they were racially taunted in front a team of TSG officers who had stopped them near Edgware Road, west London. One of the teenagers said Jones punched him several times in the head and placed him in a neck-hold while calling him an “Arab cunt”.

 

697-domestic-extremists-lg

from schnews

Good Analysis of Liberal Press’  questionable coverage of recent Police Brutality:

also check: http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news697.php

Turning the Heat Up before Copenhagen !

…Or should that be down?

didcot.jpg.display

Climate Justice Activists Scale Didcot Power Station

Climate campaigners have this morning shut down N-Power’s flagship coal plant at Didcot in Oxforshire, and Shipley Open Cast Coal Mine in Derbyshire was shut down for several hours this morning.

The twenty peaceful protesters rode their push-bikes past security guards at 4.30am this morning before splitting into two groups. One team has shut down the giant coal conveyors which feed the boilers at the plant, while a second group of nine men and women has climbed the inside of the iconic 200m-high chimney and reached the top. They say they have enough food and water to stay in place for ‘weeks, not days’ – during which time the plant will be unable to operate. Already the activists in the chimney are securing the route behind them to ensure they can’t be reached by police and security guards.

Meanwhile…

shipley

Today 20 activists from Earth First! (1) stopped work at UK Coal’s opencast coal mine near Shipley (2), Derbyshire. The protesters entered the site at 9.20am and climbed on top of machinery, intending to stay as long as possible they are currently occupying 6 vehicles. This protest is part of a campaign to stop new coal mines and coal power stations in the UK. It follows hot on the heels of last week’s Climate Swoop at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, where coal from Shipley is burnt.

Shipley is one of over 30 new coal mines recently given the go ahead as part of the government’s drive to expand opencast coal mining in the UK. This is to secure coal supply for the 6 proposed new coal power stations. The mine at Shipley alone will provide 1 million tonnes of coal over the next four years, equivalent to the release of 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Liz Cartmel, a protester at the site said “We recognise the important role coal mining has played in the local economy in the past, but at a time where our future survival hangs in the balance we need to work towards a future without climate destroying coal. Our only way out of the climate crisis is to reduce consumption and to use renewable energies such as wind and solar.”

Kingsnorth Police Report: Poor Handwriting Slammed

You may have thought that unjustified stop and searches, assaults and raids may have been the focus of the report. But apparently, the fact that some Officers have ineligable handwriting is, as Emily Apple of Fitwatch and now the Guardian (!) says in her article (below) is  apparently of more concern than, for instance,  the fact that her and Val Swain were brutally arrested and then remanded for 3 days, only later to have their charges dropped.

Emily Apple (Guardian Article) :

The soundbites sound good. A report into the policing of Kingsnorth has stated the use of blanket stop and search powers were “disproportionate and counterproductive” and show a failed command structure displaying incompetent leadership and poor communication.

However, the motivation behind these findings needs to be examined. The report is not concerned with the rights of protesters but protecting the integrity of the police force. Yes, the searches were criticised, but not for the right reasons. Instead of finding the searches contravened civil liberties, the report worries about the effect a judicial review might have on the force, stating they were “counterproductive” because of “organisational vulnerability through legal challenge”. Instead of using the opportunity to condemn the blanket use of section 1 stop and searches as an abuse of civil liberties, even more draconian legislation is called for asking for further powers, presumably to counteract the effects of any pesky judicial interference.

None of the civil liberties concerns raised by activists and politicians in relation to the camp are addressed. In fact, the report praises the police for meeting one of their key objectives of “facilitating peaceful protest”, which is simply not true. Facilitating protest must include adherence to all human rights law, including the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Stating that, during a protest which extended over several days, the police facilitated one march at the end of the week ignores all the civil liberties abuses which took place at the camp itself.

While no mention is made of the use of excessive violence by officers using batons strikes against peaceful protesters, the handwriting of officers is criticised, with fewer than 25% of all forms legible. However, instead of criticising the need for 8,000-plus searches, the report laments the fact there weren’t more details to put onto the police database. The fact details of thousands of protesters has been entered into a database is not examined, nor is the admission this information is disseminated to the Forward Intelligence Teams (Fits), and that people should not give the police personal details if they do not want to end up on such a database.

Meanwhile, another report commissioned by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), has not been released, even to the IPCC. The findings were seemingly not to the liking of senior police officers, who ordered this current report to be written instead. Despite promises by the policing minister, David Hanson, to publish the original report, this has not been done, and we are left with a report which is hostile to demonstrators and repressive in tone.

The recommendations of the HMIC report to move towards a less confrontational model of policing will never be achieved unless the attitude of the police changes towards demonstrators. However, the biggest test for all the reports will be seen on the streets over the next couple of months. Climate Camp is returning to London in August, while in September activists return to the City for a mass protest against the DSEi arms fair.

It is clear from this report, and from examples such as the suggestion, made by City of London police during a meeting with the family of Ian Tomlinson and the IPCC, that Tomlinson might have been attacked by a protester “dressed in police uniform”, that the mindset of the police has not altered. It is important they are held to account on the streets, and anyone who has any concerns over the policing of protests and civil liberties should attend these events to monitor and challenge this policing for themselves.

Kingsnorth Policing Cover-up

29 May 2009

090808_marcvallee_climate_camp_mass_action_9The failure to publish the long awaited report on policing tactics last summer is leading to accusations of a cover-up. Chris Ames reports

The Home Office and Kent Police have buried a report on the policing of last summer’s climate camp at Kingsnorth power station, provoking suspicions that it was critical of the controversial police tactics at the protest.

During the protest last August, activists complained of aggressive policing, including violence against peaceful protestors, excessive use of stop and search powers, arbitrary arrests and mass confiscation of personal property. A number of MPs called for an inquiry.

Last December, policing minister Vernon Coaker told MPs that the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was “considering the lessons to be learned” from Kingsnorth. He said he would discuss its report with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and would then “be happy to share those conclusions” with Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary David Howarth.

But the report has been shelved, apparently because Kent Police did not like its findings, despite sending it back to be revised. Soon after receiving a “final” version, Chief Constable Michael Fuller commissioned a second review, on the grounds that the NPIA report “was not an evaluation of the operation overall or whether or not strategic and tactical objectives were achieved”.

The force also refused to hand the report to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Kent Police have declined to say what the report’s findings were, in spite of a claim that its policy “has always been to be open and transparent in everything we do”.

The Home Office is now presenting the second review, which is being carried out by an assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, as a “report by the NPIA”, even though both the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police have stated that the NPIA are not involved.

Howarth has tabled a parliamentary question asking when the Home Office expects to receive the original report. He has not yet had a reply. He told Index: “It would be disturbing if the police and Home Office were not being wholly transparent about the outcome of the review into the policing of Kingsnorth. This is not a time for the police to close ranks. A democratic police force should not be afraid of healthy public debate and scrutiny. A fully open discussion is an essential part of the process of rebuilding public confidence in the policing of protest.”

Coaker referred to the original NPIA report several times when he gave evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in December. He said: “I want to see what that report says with respect to Kingsnorth.” Six days later, he had to apologise to MPs for an earlier, false, claim that 70 police officers at the climate camp had been injured by demonstrators. But he declined to comment on his previous assertion that police tactics had been “appropriate and proportionate”. He told Howarth that he would “wait for the NPIA report”.

But Kent’s Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Leppard has now claimed that the report was only “an initial debrief”. He said: “As a police force, we are always keen to learn and advance our techniques and that is why we asked the NPIA to carry out a full review.”

Kent Police’s refusal to give the original report to the IPCC has increased suspicions that it was critical of the force’s tactics. In March, the force made a voluntary referral to the IPCC of a highly critical report on Kingsnorth, which was published by the Liberal Democrats. The IPCC’s commissioner for south-east England, Mike Franklin, then asked to see the NPIA report.

According to the IPCC, “Kent Police told the commissioner that they had asked for additional work to be done on the report and that they would share it with him when it was complete.” Although Kent Police have not stated the exact date on which they received the final NPIA report, it seems clear that they had already been given it by that time.

In spite of Coaker’s pledge to consider the report, the Home Office has declined to say whether he took steps to obtain it. Like Kent Police, it is now referring to the South Yorkshire police review as an NPIA report, in an apparent attempt to deflect attention from the shelving of the original report.

A spokesperson said: “The conclusions of the report by the NPIA will be shared with the Home Office in June. We will in turn be ensuring that these lessons are picked up across the police service and linked into the [Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary] review of [the policing of the G20 protests].” She added: “At NPIA’s suggestion this review will be led by a Deputy Police Constable (DCC)with wide public order experience (from South Yorkshire), supported by NPIA.”

But this claim is contradicted by the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police, who have both stated that the new review has nothing to do with the NPIA. South Yorkshire police told Index: “The review was commissioned jointly by Kent Constabulary’s Chief Constable Michael Fuller and ACPO’s lead for public order, Deputy Chief Constable Sue Sim from Northumbria Police. The NPIA are not involved.”

The disappearance of the original report has aroused suspicions among campaigners. A spokesperson for the climate camp legal team said: “The policing at Kingsnorth was completely over the top, with the indiscriminate use of stop and search powers, the mass confiscation of personal property, and aggressive behaviour by police officers. The police do all they can to cover up their heavy handed behaviour, and so we aren’t surprised to learn that this potentially critical report has been buried.”

She added: “The right to protest is a vital part of our democracy and the police must not be allowed to silence public dissent on crucial issues such as climate change.”

Summer of Rage – Camping it up

carryonscreenshot

1.Boiling Over – Scotland’s Gathering for Climate Action: 11th – 14th June, Glasgow

2.No Borders Camp, Calais 23rd-29th June (www.calaisnoborder.eu.org.) 3.July Danish Climate Camp 11/19th July(http://camp09.dk/)

4.The Camp for Climate Action in Scotland: Some time 3rd – 11th August (http://climatecampscotland.org.uk/)

5. Belgian/Dutch Climate Action Camp August 3-9 2009, near Antwerp http://www.klimaatactiekamp.org/

6.French Climate Camp August 3rd-9th (http://campclimat.org/) August 3-9th

7.Cymru Climate Camp.13th-16th August 2009 – Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales (Next Gathering: June 6th, South Wales – Location TBC) http://climatecampcymru.org/

8.No Borders Camp, Lesvos, Greece August (25-31) (http://lesvos09.antira.info/)

9.The Camp for Climate Action 2009 will take place Somewhere within London between 27 August and 2 September.

10.Bristol Co-Mutiny: Social Change Not Climate Change. 13th-19th Sept (Next Meeting’s 11th May and 13th June – http://www.westsideclimateaction.wordpress.com

Fossil Fools Day 2009 – review

Fossil and Financial Fools Day goes global
April 1st saw not only mass protests in London ahead of the G20 summit, but local demonstrations in cities around the UK and across the globe. Under the banner of Fossil Fools Day, activists held protests at banks, energy companies and power stations across the UK, Canada, the USA and South Africa to highlight the twin economic and climate crises.

More action reports and photographs will be added here as they come in.
Email info@risingtide.org.uk with your Fossil Fools Day action report.

In the UK …

Climate Camp in the City

Climate Camp in the City

On the eve of the G20, activists descended on London to highlight the links between the financial and the climate crisis. While the ‘Financial Fools Day’ Street Party got underway outside the Bank of England, the Camp for Climate Action set up camp outside the European Climate Exchange. Their message: “Stopping carbon markets – because nature doesn’t do bailouts”. For the most up-to-date information visit – www.climatecamp.org.uk.

Climate Meltdown

Climate Meltdown

Meanwhile over at the Excel Centre, the Campaign against Climate Change staged a “Climate Emergency” Ice-berg Demo where the G20 were to meet the following day. The action featured a giant ice block sculpted like an iceberg and demonstrators dressed in white with some even wearing strings of ice cubes around their necks. The backdrop to this was provided by ‘Climate Emergency’ placards and panels showing maps and graphs of arctic ocean ice loss. The message was simple : Polar ice is melting much faster then scientists thought and is the most visible symptom of the
frightening speed with which the climate is changing. We will lose the race against climate catastrophe unless action is taken soon.

Greenwash at the Tate

Greenwash at the Tate

Earlier in the week, the oil Goliath BP was felled by a Fossil Fools Day’s David as BP postponed its centenary party at the British Museum to be held on April 1st, due to a demonstration organised by Art Not Oil and Rising Tide, (now rescheduled for May 6th at 6pm, as BP is attempting to resuscitate its broken party on that day.) Earlier on FFD, Art Not Oil’s musical contingent played ‘Celebrate This!’, a new paean to BP, inside and outside the BP-sponsored Tate Britain gallery in London; www.artnotoil.org.uk.

Plymouth Rising Tide at RBS

In Plymouth, Rising Tide penguins super-glued themselves to the entrance of RBS to highlight RBS’s funding of fossil fuels projects. RBS are one of the biggest investors in the fossil fuel industry and provided $16 billion to coal-related companies in 2007 alone. Ann Smith of Rising Tide Plymouth today said: “RBS is now 57% owned by the UK taxpayer. Climate change requires a move to renewable energy, not continued support for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry”. More photos

In Oxfordshire, the early hours of April 1st saw local activists hanging banners from bridges over the A34 between Oxford and Didcot. Banners read “Caution: Climate Change Ahead”, “Give Way to Wind” and “Fossil Fool: 3rd exit” complete with pictures of Didcot Power Station. With Didcot (run by RWE NPower) due for de-commissioning in a few years, it is time to pursue renewable options locally. One of the activists said: “We want not only Didcot, but also the government and the G20 to see the folly of their actions in pursuing unsustainable technology. We have an opportunity to pursue safe, cheap alternatives and ensure a cleaner future. The wise choice would be to grasp
this opportunity”.

In Portsmouth, members of Portsmouth Climate Action Network and the University’s People & Planet group took up position outside the Nat West Bank in Commercial Road to encouraging shoppers to tell Royal Bank of Scotland – NatWest to stop funding climate chaos. Activists said: “It is our money that RBS-NatWest is using to extract tar sands, burn coal and fuel climate chaos. We believe that the only way to prevent dangerous climate change is by investment in renewables, not in dirty coal. We are calling on the public to contact RBS-NatWest and the UK government and tell them what they think about them bankrolling climate chaos.”

A Fossil Fool Award is given to Bournemouth Airport

A Fossil Fool Award is given to Bournemouth Airport

In Bournemouth, members of direct action group Plane Stupid turned up at Bournemouth Airport to give them a Fossil Fool Award for ‘Outstanding contribution to local, national and global pollution’. Tara Bosworth said, “Bournemouth Airport may well be the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Dorset and they are expanding their operations, more than doubling the number of flights, now that’s plane stupid and why they are getting our Fossil Fool award.” A member of the airport staff accepted the award but declined having his picture taken.

Fossil fool themed street theatre took place in both Frome in Somerset and Totnes in Devon. In Totnes, the International Climate Criminal known as ‘Old King Coal’ was put on trial. The prisoner, who is not in good health, was led from The Plains up to the Civic Square where he was tried before a jury of local citizens and schoolchildren. Unfortunately other members of the Fossil Fools Gang, including Oil and Gas, remain at large and are a continued danger to the planet.

Oh, and earlier in the week, the oil Goliath BP was felled by a Fossil Fools Day’s David as BP postponed its centenary party at the British Museum to be held on April 1st, due to a demonstration organised by Art Not Oil and Rising Tide, (now rescheduled for May 6th at 6pm, as BP is attempting to resuscitate its broken party on that day.) Earlier on FFD, Art Not Oil’s musical contingent played ‘Celebrate This!’, a new paean to BP, inside and outside the BP-sponsored Tate Britain gallery in London; www.artnotoil.org.uk

In South Africa …

SASOL is awarded Fossil Fool of the Year Award

SASOL is awarded Fossil Fool of the Year Award

In Johannesburg, Earthlife Africa awarded Sasol (the South African Coal, Oil and Gas Corporation) the prestigious 2009 Fossil Fool of the Year Award for producing 72 million tonnes of CO2 per year (over 15% of South Africa’s total emissions) and for trying to build a new coal-to-liquid power plant. Although Sasol initially resisted accepting the award (one can only imagine why), the efforts of a determined group of protesters finally forced the tainted trophy to be accepted.
More info

In the USA …

Mannequins for Climate Justice at Bank of America

Mannequins for Climate Justice at Bank of America

In Boston, Massachusetts, the “Mannequins For Climate Justice” shut down the Kenmore Square branch of Bank of America. A mannequin was chained to the doors of the bank shortly before opening this morning. The lone mannequin protester, Guy Fox, said, “Even a dummy like me can see that Bank of America’s massive loans to coal companies and support for the epidemic of foreclosures and evictions has to stop now.” Fox further said, “Bank of America seems determined to be so evil it’s almost comical, but people resisting the bank’s practices will have the last laugh. Happy April Fools to all the capitalist fossil fools!”

Marching on Old King Coal

Marching on Old King Coal

In Berkeley, California, a bike ride/march highlighted BP’s $500 million deal with University of California. Under this deal, the oil giant BP is investing $500 million for the university to research biofuels, raising issues of greenwashing, false solutions, and the interaction between a public university and a private corporation.

Trouble under the sheets

Trouble between the sheets

In Asheville, North Carolina, protesters declared Governor Purdue to be in bed with Duke Energy, and demanded the cancellation of the Cliffside coal plant. In response to the North Carolina Division of Air Quality (DAQ) ruling that Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal plant is a “minor source of emissions”, protesters gathered at noon outside Governor Purdue’s Western North Carolina office in downtown Asheville to demand that she revoke the plant’s permit. In a demonstration organized by Asheville Rising Tide, protesters set up a bed in front of Governor Purdue’s office with people in business suits representing Duke CEO Jim Rogers, DAQ head Keith Overcash, and Governor Purdue under sheets and covered in money. A banner reading, “Governor Purdue in bed with Duke Energy” provided a backdrop to the under-the-sheets liaison.

In Denver, Colorado, a Fossil Fools Day rally of concerned citizens, health experts, and environmental and neighborhood leaders demanded a transition to clean energy. The rally, led by WildEarth Guardians, and joined by Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Clean Energy Action, SafeMinds, students, church members, and affected nearby communities, was held in the shadow of the Cherokee coal burning power plant at Denver’s Heron Pond Natural Area, and called upon Governor Ritter to help Colorado seize clean energy solutions and keep Coloradoans safe from coal. Carrying handmade signs and holding pinwheels to symbolize a transition to clean energy, dozens of citizens demonstrated their frustrations with the status quo and their hope for protecting their future.

In New Orleans, conservation groups, students, and concerned citizens joined forces at Entergy’s headquarters to protest about the company’s plans to expand their use of coal power in Louisiana. “Louisiana’s coast is ground zero for climate change impacts,” said rally organizer Jonathan Henderson. “Entergy should be a responsible neighbor and work to limit coast-destroying pollution and protect rate-payers from future carbon price increases”.

In the spirit of the “Coal Circus,” students from Bowling Green, Kentucky orgaised a ‘Monster Mash’ and a critical mass bike ride.

Students in Tempe, Arizona, also hopped on their bikes and declared themselves “too cool for fossil fools.”

In Canada…

A sad, bad RBC banker

Five actions in one day in downtown Toronto? No foolin!
Rainforest Action Network activists kicked Canadian Fossil Fools Day off with a bang, dropping banners off of a highway, greeting over 4,000 cars (we counted) stuck in deadlock traffic over a period of two hours. From bridges, we broadcast messages about Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)’s financing of the Canadian Tar Sands from our makeshift Pirate Radio station. Our banners read “Pirate Radio 89.9 FM Tune in now” and “Royal Bank creates climate chaos. Renewables not tar sands.” The pouring rain didn’t block our view of car after car reaching for the radio dial as they drove under us.

We began by dressing up and impersonated bank employees. About 16 of us rode elevators for up to two more hours, chatting up other RBC personnel – “Hey, on my way to work today I heard about how RBC is financing the destruction of Native territories in Alberta, causing people cancer and polluting the water! Tar Sands are the world’s dirtiest oil. Did you know that? I had no idea! I’m telling my manager right away!”

Meanwhile, outside the HQ, several more of us leafleted and held banners reading “RBC Creates poisoned water in our community,” “Renewables not tar sands” and “RBC: financing cancer and toxic sludge.”

Back inside, a lone Torontan walked inside the main office with a beautiful bouquet of balloons. I don’t know where he got the idea to release them in the atrium, or how a banner reading “ROYAL BANK CREATES CLIMATE CHAOS” got attached….I also don’t know how they’re gonna get it down.

Later that evening, dozens of activists reconvened outside RBC headquarters alongside “Tarbie,” an oil-soaked version of RBC’s prized mascot “Arbie” who explained to passersby that he and RBC are helping finance one of the fastest growing sources of water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, and how they conflict with the financial giant’s PR promises to promote clean water.

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