Chevron protests land five in jail

Kristen Owen, right, protests outside the Chevron building at 1500 Louisiana St., where about 50 activists were on hand to demonstrate against the company's policies at its shareholders meeting today. Click here for more photos from the protest. (Michael Paulsen /Houston Chronicle)

Five protesters were arrested this morning at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting held at the downtown office on Louisiana Street.
Four men were arrested after they refused to leave the entrance of the building. One woman was escorted out of the shareholder meeting and dragged out of the building for causing a scene.

The protesters, members of a coalition that wrote “The True Cost of Chevron” — an alternative annual report that sites Chevron’s violations — and some local groups, held a press conference yesterday to explain how Chevron’s operations worldwide have had a negative impact on communities.

Coalition members and community leaders from countries such as Ecuador, Nigeria, Angola and Kazakhstan planned to attend Chevron’s annual meeting to present their concerns directly to shareholders and company Chairman John Watson.

When they arrived at the doors, however, they were told that their proxy shareholder forms were invalid.

Mitch Anderson of Amazon Watch, who was one of the men arrested, said he had been in talks with Chevron prior to today about gaining access. Chevron had told him the group’s proxy forms were not valid.

“Chevron has made the process extremely complicated and they are sticking on all kinds of legal caveats to prohibit us from entering,” Anderson said before his arrest. He said all the forms were in order.

But Chevron spokesman Lloyd Avram said a number of the coalition members who tried to get into the meeting did not have valid proxies. This year the rules say that each shareholder can only issue one proxy, he said. In prior years, a shareholder could issue more than one.
Seven members of the coalition were able to enter.

Chevron’s refusal to admit some of the protesters, many of whom had traveled from as far away as Australia and Africa, angered the group of about 80 people, who congregated outside to protest the meeting.

“Let them in!” the group chanted from behind barricades policed by Houston PD and Harris County Sheriff’s officers.

Anderson, his colleague Han Shan, Rev. Ken Davis from Richmond, Calif., and Juan Parras of Houston’s Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, refused to be turned away and sat in front of the entrance in protest. Officers arrested the four men.

Antonia Juhasz, editor of the alternative report, was arrested for disrupting the shareholder meeting. Juhasz refused to stop speaking after her two minutes during the question and answer period were over. She continued to shout toward Watson as the other admitted coalition members chanted, “Chevron lies.”

Stunned shareholders watched in silence as Juhasz refused to stand down while a company official asked her to stop. As the chanting continued, shareholders applauded to drown out the sound. Watson swiftly concluded the meeting.

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  1. Socrates

    Shouldn’t these fools be in front of BP’s building?

    #1
  2. w00t

    Morons Unite!!!

    #2
  3. pistolpete

    I would have been with them if able. Chevron SUCKS in so many ways!!! They completely ignore thier retirees and have not increased many pensions in over TEN YEARS despite record earnings.

    #3
  4. LawAbider

    As a shareholder of a major corporation, I would be upset if I attended a meeting only to have it disrupted by some rabble-rousers. It’s good the shareholders applauded to drown out these jerks! It’s a meeting open to legitimate shareholders, not to the trespassers.

    #4
  5. Charlie

    Chevron pays its employees handsomly. They also provide a pension and 401k. Good luck finding many companies today providing both benefits. If you don’t have enough money in retirement that is your own damn fault. It is called taking personal responsibility instead of expecting someone else to take care of you!

    #5
  6. ray

    I’m confused. I thought we hated BP. Why did they not email me the update to the radical agenda?!
    Though I really like this part, “One woman was escorted out of the shareholder meeting and dragged out of the building for causing a scene.” Seems the sit-u-men-tae-shun went south pretty fast to go from escorted to dragged. I suppose one should not cause a scene. But then what? Was she dumped on the sidewalk? Arrested? Tased, even? Do we have to tune next week? Same bat time, same bat channel?

    #6
  7. ejahnke

    What have these smelly protesters ever accomplished?

    #7
  8. drumax

    I wonder how they got to the protest…I bet it required petroleum products…I wonder how many petroleum based products they use to make their little signs and newsletters…do they own a computer…petroleum. They have no clue how this industry supports civilization as we know it and provides for them all their modern luxuries…How radical would would be in their ranks if they had to do without for their agenda…they look relatively well fed as well…can you get that fat on veggies and wheat germ?

    #8
  9. kbn

    What courageous people for risking arrest to stand up to corporate greed! The shareholders need to know the truth behind their investments in a company that has spent millions covering up all of the damage they’ve done all over the world.

    #9
  10. graylady

    Did the protestors walk there? Swim there? Must be nice to have the luxury of time.

    #10
  11. Marie

    I was actually there and would like to point out the ignorance/misrepresentation I see here. 1. This protest was not about the current disaster caused by BP. It was about, as the slanted article clearly chose to ignore, horrible human rights violations, environmental destruction, and negligence on Chevron’s part to act safely and morally as a company. People came from all over the world to protest the company for supporting brutal military regimes, poisoning water supplies, dumping toxic waste on indigenous land around the world and several other offenses. The company has failed to be accountable for these atrocities and actively refuses to acknowledge the protests from these third world and American people who they are harming by silencing their protests, sometimes using corrupt militaries to do so. People held signs saying “Dear Chevron, Thanks for the poisoned fish.- Nigeria”, “Thanks for building one of the most dangerous coalmines in the US-WY”, “Thanks for the Cancer- CA”, “Thanks for supporting our brutal military regime- Burma”. Obviously there is more to this protest than what the article acknowledges. 2. The people arrested and denied entry were legal shareholders from around the world who wanted to voice their complaints about how their communities were suffering and encourage change, Chevron refused to listen. 3. Employees and neighbors of Chevron’s facilities suffer, and I’m not talking about guys who sit in offices. Workers are dying of cancer and working in unsafe conditions due to a lack of concern from Ceos who only care about their profit.
    If you want real information on the issue you can go to these websites:
    truecostofchevron.com
    changechevron.org
    I have to say I’m disappointed in the Chronicle for an article which was obviously written to misinform readers on current issues.

    #11
  12. pistolpete

    Spoken like a true “Company Man”, Charlie. Maybe if you were my age and depended on pension increases and SS increases, you would sing a different tune. Chevron may pay current employees well but they shun their retirees, especially those from Gulf Oil. We had no 401′s when we retired.

    #12
  13. hdm

    Wow—how did all the socialist get over here from Greece?

    #13
  14. Lane

    Did anyone even read the freaking article? These people came from all over the world to voice their displeasure. So stop assuming it’s veggie and wheat germ people who are ticked off here.

    #14
  15. bitter

    Get a job. Do all these people have trust funds and thats why they dont have to work?

    #15
  16. GlenW

    “Coalition members and community leaders from countries such as Ecuador, Nigeria, Angola and Kazakhstan planned to attend Chevron’s annual meeting to present their concerns directly to shareholders and company Chairman John Watson.”
    I would like to know more about the community leaders.
    Not that it matters. Corporations are only concerned about profits. Greed above all else. Employees be damned. They should have found another job if they wanted better benefits. People who suffer from however Chevron makes its products should just move someplace else. It’s not Chevron’s fault that their field practices destroy places where people have their homes, raise their families, and get their food. Doesn’t bother me at my house does it? My job is a good one.
    And we wonder why Marxism came about and why we seem to find new enemies throughout our history.

    #16
  17. ThePrize

    Protesters stopped at the local gas station to fill up before heading home in their SUVs and Hummers. The international protesters were seen boarding planes to fly thousands of miles on gas powered jets.
    It’s called capitalism, people. If you don’t like it, then move to Cuba or China. See how you like the standard of living there.

    #17
  18. Mr.Bill

    Everyone bad mouths big oil companies, but none of them give up their cars, electricity, natural gas, plastics, synthetics, millions of medical devices, etc., etc….
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It takes some sacrifices in order to live the good life. I agree more precautions should be taken, but I’m not ready to live with petroleum and the products they provide.

    #18
  19. Candidly

    I believe there are 30 cases of documented hippies in Houston. They go from protest to protest.
    They aren’t contagious.

    #19
  20. Antinomy

    Many of these “protesters” live in communities affected by Chevron’s indifference to human rights and human life. They traveled from around the world because they live in areas that are no longer suitable for fishing, farming, or living. Chevron has been convicted of causing widespread and deadly damage in Ecuador, to name just one example, but Chevron has refused to either pay or clean up the mess. When you hear the stories of people dying extremely prematurely, it helps you to understand the outrage.

    #20
  21. YADA YADA YADA

    Chevron is the BP of Louisiana. They me be headquartered here, but the own Louisiana! The oil industry there bows and scrapes to them, the control so much of what is done in the oil business and most of it on the cheap. God help you if you ever have to go up against them legally in that state.

    #21
  22. Raughammer

    Stupid Hippies.
    Thank you Chevron, Shell, Valero, etc. etc. for giving us jobs and a future.

    #22
  23. ST

    Chevron pays well to those who work hard. If you didn’t get enough raise and pension, ask yourself if you had worked hard enough and if you wasted your money somewhere else.
    Why didn’t anybody protest at Exxon for their oil spill years ago at Alaska? BP admitted the mistake right away this time but Exxon still hasn’t admitted that they had a drunk captain and broken radar.

    #23
  24. travis

    Im sure they drove their nice little gas guzzlers to the event. Eco-idiots.

    #24
  25. deepwater contractor

    “Chevron pays its employees handsomly”
    — —
    I beg to differ.

    #25
  26. AmericaFirst

    Actually if we had no humans that would fix a lot. but thats not going to happen so why dont we just accept the fact that we cant be trusted? Why because then Politicians wouldnt be able to run for office.

    #26
  27. pistolpete

    Charlie, thanks for your input. I’m sure there are countless retirees still alive who retired before 401′s were available.

    #27
  28. StopMakingSense

    What I’ve been reading here seems to be 3 different conflicts, the first involving: Current Chevron U.S. employees and Former Chevron U.S. employees. As a large company, Chevron treats its U.S. employees no differently than other large companies (for the most part). That is not what the article is about, so please take your discussion elsewhere. The second involves people who realize the value of the petroleum industry and its products verses “hippies” (is that term hurtful?) that think that manufacturing and large business (etc.) is inherently evil. Possibly because this is a Houston blog, the first side is overwhelmingly represented and overwhelmingly self-righteous. Yes, we all drive cars. No, the hippies are not all driving SUVs bought from their trust funds. At any rate, that is still not what the article is about. The article is about some people who went to a shareholders meeting because… They didn’t go to get Americans better pensions or raises. They didn’t go to equate oil to evil. They went because, like every other company with international presence, Chevron shows little concern for people places and things in the third world. Your car got you to work at the cost of an african village’s drinking well – are you really so naive as to think that a spill in the gulf is unique? People in India die of Cancer so that your face can have a nice (chemically aided) complexion. Your mardi gras beads were strung together by a 13 year old in China that works 14 hours a day for what you paid for that single stand of beads – and you think that 5 seconds of skin comes cheaply. Your hamburger was raised in what was once south american rain forest. For that matter, so was your SOY BURGER! In summary, this article was about a protest regarding big industry exploiting people and places and things afar – not U.S. employees or our need for oil. The cause of all of this is not Chevron. It is not any one company at all. It is an ignorant and uncaring consumer base… Yes, the ceo wants to be rich, and the stockholders only notice the daily value, etc., but as “we want it all, we want it now, and we want it cheap” we are all to blame. Human rights cost money (higher wages, health care, shorter hours, etc.) Environmentalism costs money (alternatives for… everything). Doing things right costs money (right part for the job, no cutting corners). Shoot, public works etc. cost money. Until people are willing to pay what an item is really worth or scale back what they think they need or pay higher taxes then we will continue to dig our fellow humans, the earth, and our local state and federal government into deep and dark holes.

    #28