Citizens Bring the Fight to Peabody; 12 Arrested

Friday, January 25th, 2013
posted by mlr
Fern Benally of Black Mesa and Dustin Steele of Mingo Co, WV on the steps of Peabody HQ

Fern Benally of Black Mesa, AZ and Dustin Steele of Mingo Co, WV on the steps of Peabody HQ

An unprecedented coalition of Navajo (Dineh) residents of Black Mesa, AZ, Appalachian residents, St. Louis residents, military veterans and labor unions brought the fight for our future to Peabody’s HQ today.  Nearly 100 of us had a raucous rally opened with a prayer by Black Mesa native Don Yellowman, followed by speeches demanding Peabody stop destabilizing the climate, forcing the Dineh off their land, and cheating workers out of their retirement benefits.  Peabody representatives promised to accept a letter from Fern Benally and Don Yellowman, the Navajo residents of Black Mesa, but they broke their promise and called the police instead.

But we didn’t back down: people rushed over the barricades and locked arms and legs on the steps.  Peabody security official, Jeff Learner, who had promised Black Mesa residents that he would deliver their letter to CEO Greg Boyce came out to see us, but ignored our chants demanding that he come accept the letter.  Instead, he stood by as the police forcefully ripped people apart using pain compliance pressure points and twisting heads and arrested them.  One arrested member of Veterans for Peace person was handcuffed, walking compliantly with police and was suddenly thrown to the ground by the police, for no reason.

Residents of St. Louis and West Virginia demanding Peabody CEO meet with Navajo (Dineh) representatives

Residents of St. Louis and West Virginia demanding Peabody CEO meet with Navajo (Dineh) representatives

After twelve people were arrested, the rest of us seized the streets of St. Louis to march and let the people know their city was subsidizing Peabody’s destructive and abusive behavior with funding taken from public education.  Despite heavy police presence, we finished our march without further arrests.

We just got word from the arrestees that they are being charged with trespassing, resisting arrest and failure to disburse.  Their bail has not been set.  In the meantime please donate to their legal support fund: https://bit.ly/mj-legal

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