OKLAHOMA CITY – The scene outside the Devon Energy Tower Friday morning was chaotic. Dozens of police, firemen, and FBI swarmed the building, arresting protester after protester.
Protesters from two groups, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and Cross Timbers Earth First, stormed inside the front entrance and unfurled banners that read “the odds are never in our favor” and that contained black powder from the second floor balcony.
“Not so much the trespassing was the problem as it was them throwing the powder and the banners.” Captain Dexter Nelson said. “That caused the panic inside somewhat. People didn’t know what that substance was, thinking it could be something dangerous.”
The demonstration escalated when two protesters from Texas chained themselves to the revolving doors. The fire department tried to use bolt cutters to set them free, but had to bring in heavier equipment to break the locks.
The groups say a recent land purchase by Devon in southern Texas prompted them to take action. Eric Whelan with Great Plains Sar Sands Resistance says they are worried about what the purchase is going to do to the environment. “People are willing to risk arrest.” Whelan said. “We don’t see arrest as something that’s like, sexy.”
While some might see these methods as radical, Whelan views Devon as the one that is being extreme.
“I see being extreme as the idea that you can take and take and take from other people and build a tower with all that money and take money from the public to build your tower and have your offices here while also putting forth this image that you’re a benevolent corporation that we should all just be thanking for your presence.” He said. “I find that a little extreme.”
Eleven people were taken into custody.
Moriah Stephenson, Stefan Warner, Cory Mathis and Caroline McNally were all charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. Stephenson and Warner threw the black powder and are also being charged with terrorism hoax.
The black powder was eventually determined to be black glitter.