Calif. activist Priya Sawhney faces felony charges for protesting Jeff Bezos

Priya Sawhney

A California woman who interrupted Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos during a conference in Las Vegas, June 6, has been arrested. Priya Sawhney of Berkley, an associate of Direct Action Everywhere, an international grassroots network of animal rights activists, is booked on one-count misdemeanor trespassing.

In videos of the incident, posted on Twitter, Sawhney, 30, can be seen walking on stage, asking Bezos to do something about the chicken farms. “You are the world’s richest man. You’re the president of Amazon and you can help the animals,” she is heard shouting, asking Bezos to stop the abuses of animals in California farms.

Sawhney never got close to Bezos. He is seen seated opposite a moderator. As Sawhney is being led off stage by security guards, Bezos can be seen turning to the moderator, and asking her if she had a response to that.

In an interview with Democracy News, Sawhney said she is facing up to a decade in prison and seven felony charges.

“I was one of the 58 activists who was arrested in September for documenting criminal animal cruelty at the largest organic poultry producer in the nation (in California),” Sawhney was quoted as saying. “Growing up as a child in India, I saw a lot of stray dogs, a lot of stray animals. And I always knew that these animals are helpless, and we need to help them and do whatever we can. So I’ve carried that into my work as an investigator for DXE,” she added.

Direct Action Everywhere spokesman Matt Johnson told ABC 7 News that Sawhney also faces felony charges in California for actions involving poultry farms.

Johnson told the news network that Sawhney will have a private attorney at her next court appearance.

She was temporarily represented on June 7 by an appointed public defender.

Meanwhile, news reports say that Amazon does not own any chicken farms, but it does source chicken products from businesses that DXE has targeted with protests, such as Petaluma Poultry and Pitman Family Farms.

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