Richmond police arrested a total of 210 people Saturday at a non-violent protest outside the Chevron refinery held to commemorate the first anniversary of an Aug. 6th refinery fire, officials said.
A group of around 1200 people gathered at the Richmond BART station and marched more than two miles to the refinery Saturday morning, according to Police Capt. Mark Gagan. Police estimate more than 2500 people gathered at the refinery and listened to speeches by activists, environmentalists and local dignitaries, Gagan said.
Following the speeches, a group of more than 500 people pushed police officers back on to Chevron property about 25 feet and then sat down, Gagan said. After police notified them that they were trespassing, those that failed to leave were arrested.
Police arrested and cited a total of 209 people for trespassing, and one person for battery. Gagan said the individual arrested on suspicion of battery arrest was not there in support of the protest.
Those arrested were taken to a local fire station, cited and released from that location.
No property was damaged during the protest and no one was injured, Gagan said.
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.