210 Arrested at Chevron Refinery Protest

Those arrested face trespassing charges

Richmond police told NBC Bay Area that they arrested 210 protesters at the Richmond Chevron refinery as part of an environmental protest against the oil industry.

Capt. Mark Gagan said more than 2,500 people marched to the Chevron refinery during Saturday's planned nonviolent demonstration in Richmond.

Gagan said 209 activists were handcuffed, cited for trespassing and released after they refused to leave the area outside the refinery's main gate. 

One person was arrested on an assault charge, but police said he wasn't affiliated with the protest and has a history of mental illness. 

Saturday's action comes three days before the anniversary of the Aug. 6 explosion that fouled the air, shut down the refinery and sent hundreds of residents to the hospital with breathing complaints.

It comes one day after Richmond city leaders and their attorneys filed litigation against Chevron in connection with the fire.

The lawsuit alleges the explosion and blaze at the Richmond refinery on Aug. 6, 2012, resulted from "years of neglect, lax oversight and  corporate indifference to necessary safety inspection and repairs."   

The fire occurred after a leak in a corroded pipe in the  refinery's crude oil unit created a large cloud of hydrocarbon vapor that ignited in a fireball at about 6:30 p.m. that day.   

The fire burned for several hours before being controlled and sent  a huge plume of toxic black smoke over the area. More than 15,000 people were treated at hospitals for respiratory problems and other illnesses.

The lawsuit, authorized by the City Council last week after months  of failed negotiations with Chevron, seeks financial compensation for  economic damage to the city, including the costs of emergency response,  firefighting, environmental cleanup, alleviating harm to public health, and  loss of value in city property.

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