CINCINNATI -- The Greenpeace protesters who staged an elaborate public demonstration at the global headquarters of Proctor & Gamble Co. Tuesday likely trained extensively for the carefully-orchestrated plot, according to former Greenpeace activists.
"They work sort of like a SWAT team," said Pat Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder who cut ties with environmental group in 1986 after 15 years.
Activists hung a zip line between the company's twin towers and unfurled two 60-foot banners from the buildings to protest what they claimed was P&G's link to tropical deforestation with it's use of palm oil in Head & Shoulders products. One of the activists was dressed in a tiger costume while hanging from the zip line.
The protest, although new to Cincinnati, was not a new Greenpeace tactic. The banner drop is a common attention-getting approach used by the worldwide environmental group, which often campaigns against issues like global warming, deforestation, commercial whaling and nuclear matters.
"The climbing thing has been going on for a long time--so have the animal costumes and so has the helicopter, the film crew. It's a pretty stock demonstration and it didn't require getting many people in the room," said Moore, who recalled climbing buildings and smokestacks decades ago, too.
"They've got it down to an art….It's worked for years."
After hours of questioning Tuesday night at police headquarters, the nine activists provided little information how they managed to enter the building of the Fortune 500 company, but a P&G spokesperson said Wednesday that the protesters had help.
"Security cameras indicate that one protester gained illegal access to office space that P&G leases to a third party. The protester then improperly let the others in via a secured entrance," said Lisa Popyk, who would not reveal where the activists entered the building.
Greenpeace, founded in 1971 and now an international organization with headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has historically depended on insiders to successfully carry out its protests, said Moore. He said he and fellow activists depended on close connections while chasing the Russian Whalers around the North Pacific.
"We were given U.S. intelligence information from Washington D.C. through a late congressman from California who sympathized with us….He was sending us the position of the Russian factory Whalers on a daily basis…That's how we were able to find them and confront them and film them killing the whales."
Moore said the group would often assign a person to scout the location of a protest--gathering intimate details about building floor plans, employee schedules and other key clues of how to gain access inside.
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