Occupy London activists found not guilty for Xtrata action at Panton house
After seven months on bail and an intensive five days taken in two sittings of Westminster Magistrate’s Court, the ‘Xstrata 16’ were yesterday found not guilty of behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress by disrupting work activity of global mining giant Xstrata in their London offices last November 30th.
The activists were arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group having entered the offices located at Panton House and carrying a banner reading ‘All Power to the 99%’ during the TUC-lead general strike. The action came in response to revelations earlier that week that Xstrata CEO Mick Davies was the highest compensated CEO of all the FTSE 100 companies in the last year, when his company incurred losses and the economy collapsed. For his efforts Mick Davies received over £18 million in bonuses amid further revelations of illegal union-busting and labour activity, and endemic ecological destruction within their coal and metal extraction operations [see appendix at end for details].
The actions, taken on behalf of Occupy London highlighted corporate greed endemic within the UK and called for a change within society. The case itself was notable as it marked the first instance in which Occupy London directly challenged the working environment of the ‘Global 1%’ and was one of the first instances in which Occupy activists were arrested.
Daniel James, a professional software developer who was one of the defendants today, said: “The Home Office clearly wanted to send a strong message that this form of the protest is unacceptable. The Court today found this opinion to be in error – in all, a decision we are very happy about.”
The charges bought were contrary to Sections 5 and 6 of the Public Order Act (1986) but the Learned Judge found that the prosecutor had failed to prove that the protesters had intended for their actions to be disorderly. In the case of two of the defendants, the Judge additionally found that their actions had been reasonable, and praised the exceptional good character on the part of nearly all of the defendants.
Notes and further reading
According to the Income Data Services, Mick Davies from Xstrata (mining company) was the highest paid executive in the FTSE 100. His company has recently taken severe hits as FTSE 100 companies face drop in value (£104 billion off FTSE 100 companies). He was paid £18,426,105. LONDON OFFICE: Registered Office, 4th Floor 25/27 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4EN
Appendix: Timeline of of Xstrata-related protests:
Oct.’07: Xstrata, criticized heavily by a growing number of Chileans opposing the Swiss mining company’s plan to build a large hydroelectric dam in northern Patagonia (Region XI), is no stranger to controversy – especially when it comes to rivers.
Oct.’06: The traditional Aboriginal owners of land near the Gulf of Carpentaria are travelling to Darwin to protest against the mining company Xstrata’s decision to expand a zinc and lead mine by diverting the McArthur River.
Jan.’08: Communist rebels have attacked a $2 billion copper and gold mine owned by Xstrata in the Philippines.
May ’11: Peru – Xstrata halts activities at Las Bambas due to protests
Nov.’11: Workers of the mining group Xstrata are to demonstrate in Johannesburg on Tuesday to demand the right to take part in industrial action….”This march will be taking place amid the impromptu arrest of Numsa members by [the] SA Police Service under the instruction of one of Xstrata’s key executives.”
Nov.’11: Vehicles torched in job protest at Xstrata mine