Protest held at Richmond Chevron refinery

March 15, 2008 6:37:57 PM PDT
Hundreds of Bay Area activists marched on the Chevron refinery in Richmond and local politicians are cheering them on. They say Chevron is profiting from the war in Iraq and polluting the environment.

Richmond Mayor Dale Mcglothlin and 300 others joined in Saturday's protest, but this protest took on a different twist when marchers decided to take their message to one of the country's biggest oil companies.

Hundreds of anti-war protestors stormed the streets in Richmond, their message aimed at President Bush and the big oil company Chevron.

"I' m here because the war in Iraq has been going on for five years and it makes me incredibly sad, the loss of life that we've seen," says one rally supporter.

"We have momentum here today and we believe that Chevron may not in listen, but they will hear," says another protestor.

What they may be hearing today are harsh accusations from protestors, claims of Chevron's connection to Iraqi oil.

"Chevron has put this community at risk by processing over a million barrels of stolen Iraqi oil out their refinery every month," says one Richmond resident.

Chevron says it is a baseless allegation, meant to be provocative.

"Our crude sources are global, everywhere from South America to the Middle East to the U.S. so that is where we bring crudes into the refinery," says Chevron spokesperson Dean O'Hair. Still, it did not stop protestors from taking their march to the front gates of the Richmond oil refinery. They boarded up and closed off entryways and upped security and extra police officers were called in.

"We're looking at 150 police officers that are monitoring this event and that is to ensure if it does become out of control, we can quickly contain it," says one Richmond police officer.

The goal at the gate, according to protestors, was to shut down Chevron and keep trucks from coming or going. Some protestors even locked their arms together with pipes and chains and sat in front of the gates.

"We need to end our addiction to oil. We need more oil per person than any other country in the world," says one protestor.

Most protestors have gone home for the day, but some remain and police told us there was an incident of what they call 'mild disobedience', when some protestors pushed back a police barricade a few feet to try to gain closer access to the Chevron offices there. No arrests have been made, but they are monitoring this situation. Chevron officials said it did not impact their business.