'Occupy' activists storm Xstrata London HQ

30th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Activists from the Occupy London anti-capitalist movement stormed a building housing the mining giant Xstrata on Wednesday, targeting its chief executive.

About 60 protesters got inside Panton House, Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) said, where the diversified Anglo-Swiss firm has its British office.

Another 200 were held outside within a police cordon, in the heart of central London's West End entertainment district.

Some covered their faces with masks as they swept through the building. The protesters reached the roof and unveiled a banner reading "All power to the 99 percent".

In the street, one man with a hooded top, his face masked, waved a flare around.

"21 arrests have been made for the unauthorised entry into Panton House for a variety of offences including burglary, aggravated trespass, criminal damage and assault on police," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

OLSX have been camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in London's financial district since October 15, as part of a global wave of anti-capitalist protests.

They said they targeted Xstrata on Wednesday because they claimed it had the highest-paid chief executive of a FTSE 100 share index company over the last year.

"CEOs like Mick Davies lavishly secure their own futures while ignoring the security and wellbeing of their own workers," the movement said on its webpage.

The protesters had marched the short distance from Picadilly Circus, led by a samba band, chanting against corporate greed, OLSX said.

"Xstrata confirms that a number of protesters have attempted to enter the company's offices in central London," a spokeswoman said.

"All executive pay is approved by the company's shareholders and is linked to company and individual performance," she added.

"Last year Xstrata delivered its second best financial performance since inception, with an 86 percent increase in profits, record cost savings, improved safety performance and total shareholder returns substantially greater than the FTSE 100 average."

Those being held in the area outside were told via a police megaphone: "You are being contained because we fear an imminent breach of the peace will occur. You will be released as soon as possible."

The OLSX protesters are inspired by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York and other cities around the world.

Earlier Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles, police arrested more than 200 anti-Wall Street protesters in a raid that cleared out hundreds of people from the two-month old encampment there.

© 2011 AFP

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