Chicago police arrested four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Monday, 19 July on charges of trespass for praying inside The Body Shop during a noon-hour vigil at the downtown store.
The Body Shop purchases palm oil from Daabon Organics, a Colombian company involved in the forced eviction of 123 families from their ancestral lands in the community of Las Pavas, Colombia. With their land confiscated, homes burned, and crops destroyed, the families (some 500 men, women and children) set up camp in a nearby schoolyard and have subsisted on corn fritters and cheese since being displaced one year ago.
Four CPTers wearing t-shirts with photographs of the displaced farmers entered The Body Shop store and explained their presence to store clerks.
“We affirm The Body Shop’s stated values, which include defending human rights and protecting the planet, and we know that you do too,” said a letter to store personnel. “We are here to join the families of Las Pavas in calling on The Body Shop to live up to these values by pressuring its Colombian supplier, Daabon, to withdraw from Las Pavas, return the land to its rightful owners, and compensate the community for all losses.”