PAONIA, Colo. (CBS4) – What began as a relatively uneventful Cherry Days Parade on the Fourth of July was interrupted by a man protesting the involvement of billionaire Bill Koch in the day’s festivities.
The protester, Sid Lewis — now referred to by many as “Tiananmen Sid” — ran out into the path of an oncoming tank, which was reportedly owned by Koch, president of Oxbow Corporation.
In a dramatic YouTube video (above) that is quickly grown viral, the tanks are seen hitting the brakes to avoid hitting Lewis.
Lewis is described by the YouTube user who posted it, chesterzev1, as a hairdresser. He is also reportedly a former councilman.
“[L]ocal Paonia, Colorado hairdresser, Sid, stops July 4th parade led by tank owned by Bill Koch who owns area coal mines and is believed to be at root of fracking efforts in this peaceful valley,” the blurb reads.
Lewis’ sign, made of a large sheet of cardboard attached to a wood plank, had the words “Trying to buy the planet, or just take it,” scrawled in black marker on one side, and “Democracy Bought & Sold” on the other.
After the parade ground to a halt, two men seemingly serving as parade security forcibly move Lewis out of the way.
Despite being shoved aside, Lewis was not done yet, according to the information under the video.
“[N]ext he stood in front of what is thought to be Bill Koch’s Hummer and that didn’t stop,” the description read. “[It] tried to run him down. He stood his ground until he couldn’t any longer.”
Koch and his brother allegedly gave almost $130,000 to a political action committee that used the funds toward a smear campaign against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, according to the website Truth-Out.org. At the time, current governor John Kasich, a supporter of drilling, was running against Strickland for office.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the practice of penetrating a rock layer through man-made means in order to procure petroleum, natural gases and other resources trapped below the rocks.
Those opposed to it say the practice negatively affects the quality of water, air and food in the surrounding areas.