St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - The 'Occupy' movement wants to take over May Day. Demonstrators are pushing for a place back in the headlines as they hope to rejuvenate their message with scheduled protests across the country.
Protestors in St. Louis gathered in downtown Tuesday morning outside the Peabody Opera House at 10:30 a.m. to make their voices heard.
The demonstrators claim Peabody Energy Corporation does not pay its fair share of taxes, that their tax breaks actually take funds from those who need it most, such St. Louis schools and social services.
In a statement released to NewsChannel 5 prior to the beginning of the Occupy protest, Peabody Energy Corp. responded to demonstrators' claims.
Peabody Energy Corp. paid approximately $1.4 billion in taxes, fees and royalties to governments in 2011, which includes more than $200 million in federal, state and local taxes.
The Fortune 500 company said its employees volunteer their own time to charitable organizations in and around St. Louis, and Tuesday morning's statement said Peabody has donated money to the Saint Louis Zoo, the United Way, the American Red Cross, Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and the St. Louis Children's Hospital, as well as their own "Leaders in Education" program.
According to Peabody's 2011 annual report, the coal company generated $7.97 billion in revenue for 2011, an 18 percent jump over the previous year. The company posted a $957.7 million profit in 2011, a 24 percent increase over 2010. The company has classified this as a "net income attributable to common stockholders" in the report.
Meanwhile, Occupy protestors aim to disrupt commerce and block morning commutes in major cities during large scale 'May Day' demonstrations across the country.