Police in California's Bay Area arrested 209 protesters outside a Chevron oil
refinery ahead of the anniversary of an explosion that poisoned the air.
More than 1,000 people participated in the protest, organized by several environmental groups in front of the refinery in Richmond, Calif., the Contra Costa Times reported Saturday.
Protesters chanted "arrest Chevron" and staged their protest in front of the plant's main entrance. The explosion that prompted the protest sent a huge plume of black smoke into the air over Richmond and caused breathing problems for 15,000 people severe enough they sought hospital care.
One of the organizers, Bill McKibben of the Vermont-based non-profit 350.org, said the large protest was brought on by people in the community and across the country who are concerned about environmental pollution and the effect it's having on the Earth's climate.
"Everybody thought at first that if you have a problem this big that scientists said is a problem, then our system would act," McKibben said. "That was my assumption. But at a certain point it became clear that wasn't happening. The science was no match for the money. They've purchased the U.S. Congress."
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