Coal Protesters Occupy Montana State Capitol

I have been here since Friday working in Montana’s capital city, Helena, with the Coal Export Action team comprised of folks from Montana as well as from around the country and our movements.

We’ve been rocking it. To say the least. But it’s been busy days. Very busy days.

The Coal Export Action is an eight day series of rolling civil disobediences pressuring the Montana Land Board to prevent the mining of Otter Creek in southeast Montana and raise awareness about coal exports at large. We’ve been building buzz for it globally through social media and outreach to corporate media for months. Buzz has been building locally and regionally through organizational and one on one outreach.

Yesterday was the first day and 100 activists stormed into the Montana state capital building chanting “We’re Fighting For Our Future, Montana Shall Not Be Moved.” We occupied the capital building for seven hours yesterday and plan to go back everyday for the next week.

During the occupation, we turned the capital rotunda into a “No Coal Exports” camp with facilitated workshops, skill shares and, of course, choir practice.

At the end of the day, seven were arrested for refusing to leave and were marched out by police while civil rights songs were sung in solidarity.

But, we’ve been a truly grassroots effort and need your support out there to help us keep this going. Please support the Coal Export Action by donating here.

You can see lots of pictures here.

And read a great AP article about it here.


Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

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