Statement on First Day's Police Arrests

News — Team August 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm

On August 20th, protestors began the Tar Sands Action sit-in at the White House to demand President Obama reject a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. To join them in this historic, two week protest click here to sign up:

U.S. Park Police are holding over 50 people in jail tonight through Sunday night for participating in a peaceful sit-in that took place at the White House this morning.

At 11:00 AM, 65 people took part in the sit-in on the sidewalk in front of the White House fence to pressure President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline.

Over 2,000 people from all 50 states and Canada have registered at to take part in similar sit-ins of 50-100 people everyday for the next two weeks until September 3.

The people arrested this morning were taken to District 5 Station of the U.S. Park Police in Anacostia for booking. The determination was made that participants would be held until Monday, with the exception of 9-15 DC area residents who will be released this evening. Participants were then transferred to Central Cell Block in Metropolitan Police Headquarters until they appear in court on Monday.

Attorneys will have the opportunity to visit with some of the locked-up participants over the weekend. The attorneys expect that the defendants will be brought into court on Monday afternoon and will be charged and released at that time. As of now, participants have been charged with failure to obey a lawful order, although it is possible that additional charges will be added. Attorneys expect that all will be released by Monday evening.

On a phone call late this afternoon, U.S. Park Police told organizers of the sit-in that the jail time was expressly intended as a deterrent for future participants.

The Park Police were especially concerned that sit-ins would continue during the week of events beginning on August 28 surrounding the dedication of a new memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest exponents of creative nonviolence.

In multiple phone calls and in person meetings before today’s sit-in, the Park Police had previously assured organizers that participants in the protest would be facing a “post and forfeit” situation, meaning they would pay a $100 fine and be released the same day. While participants in this morning’s sit-in were trained the evening before to prepare for the worst, many were operating on the “post and forfeit” assumption due to police assurances.

Not deterred

While the escalated response from the police came as a surprise for organizers behind the protest, they assured the police that the night in jail was not a deterrent for future participants. At a church in Columbia Heights this evening, over 50 more participants from across the country prepared to take part in Sunday morning’s sit-in.

Over the next two weeks, 2,000 more people will follow the example of the 65 people arrested today in order to prevent an environmental disaster that threatens their air, water, and climate.

As the dedication of the MLK Jr. memorial approaches, the sit-in outside the White House is a reminder that the great American tradition of civil disobedience is not just history. The participants are coming not with deep pockets or a partisan agenda, but with the simple idea that their voices should be heard.

They will not be intimidated or deterred.

Legal Information

Attorneys working with believe that future participants in the sit-in are likely to face up to one night in jail. The initial charge of Failure to Obey a Lawful Order brings a possible fine of $100 or more. The possible additional charge of Incommoding  (Blocking Passage) brings possible fines of up to $500 and/or 90 days of jail. Defendants would likely receive probation and a fine rather than jail time for the charges.

A full legal briefing will be provided for participants every evening during a training before the following day’s sit-in.

  1. Dawnwilsonx says:

    Thanks for the update, and please keep posting any additional news, my husband is one of the participants in jail tonight!

    • ~3B says:

      So sorry to hear that, please share my thanks to him when he gets home. There are many many of us who cannot be there and appreciate that he has put himself out there in the behalf of all of us.

    • Thanes says:

      So proud to hear that. It inspires me and I am thinking about going up next weekend myself. Hope he scrawled something on the wall of the holding cell, I can add to.

    • Ann H says:

      Please tell him thank you from us. We, too, are proud of those who are doing this protest. And thank you for supporting him. Hope you have children, because they are learning important things from you two!

  2. Erica F says:

    “The Park Police were especially concerned that sit-ins would continue during the week of events beginning on August 28 surrounding the dedication of a new memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.”

    I wonder if the police realize the irony of this. “Not just history” indeed. This is the LIVING memorial of his work.

    • Fhartha says:

      I’m not so sure about this backfiring on the Park Police. They’ve been completely over the top for a while now, tasing pedicab drivers, body-slamming people dancing at the Jefferson memorial and forcibly removing journalists from DC taxicab commission meetings, among others. They seem immune to criticism.

      • Yeah, I hear you, but see the comment by MMAYHEM above – I think a lot of people are going to have this kind of reaction.

      • Les Zouazo says:

        They’ve been immune to criticism because said criticism has not been widespread enough. Truth be told, the Beltway pundits (as usual) have made sure their corporate and political masters would not be inconvenienced in any way. So, they don’t talk about the pipeline on the 6 o’clock news. The latest stupid statements from Rick Perry are MUCH MORE important for the slothful asshats like Andrea Mitchell, Gloria Borger, Chuck Todd, David Brooks et al.

        Plus, I’ll bet you my last shekel the Park Police received, hmmm, how shall I say, “their real marching orders from above” at the last minute after they gave the impression they were negotiating in good faith.

        The intolerance to dissent is getting rather extreme.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WOW, DC police. Way to make me even more eager to get there.

  4. Ted Glick says:

    This police response today rreminds me of what happened several days before the beginning of the March on Blair Mountain. All of a sudden, despite many weeks of communication between the MOBM organizers and various government officials, state, county and local, agreements to camp overnight were revoked, pressure was put on a state park to get them to deny us a place to camp, anonymous rumors emerged of a supposed plan to arrest marchers when we got out of Marmet onto rural roads, etc.

    This didn’t deter the marchers or the march leadership. We pushed through our fears and concerns, we made tactical adjustments so we could keep the march going forward throughout the week onto Blair, and we made it. Indeed, the obstacles the march leadership and the marchers overcame made our successful action that much more of a success.

    I hope and pray, and expect, that our movement will rise to this occasion the way we did in West Virginia two months ago. Let’s fill the D.C. jails to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and defend our right to a liveable and just future!

  5. MiddKid says:

    Wow, 65 people after months of hype?

    • ~3B says:

      It’s organized over ten days to be done in small groups so as not to cause a riot or issues like they are worried about avoiding at the police station. Endurance and persistence is the goal and I believe you will see many many more in the days to come.

    • StrandedW says:

      Wait, the plan is to do this over a length of time but Martin Luther McKibben is already in the lockdown? Some plan.

    • Mlc says:

      and YOU, MiddKid??

      • MiddKid says:

        No, I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid

        • ;ljaf;ewoif says:

          Yeah, you restrict your liquid intake to TransCanada Corp. oil

          • MidddKid says:

            Wow. Attack me rather than make a logical comment? It is Kool-Aid

          • Ann H says:

            “It is Kool-Aid.” Wow, what a logical comment.

            People should not call each other names, whether deserved or not. However, it can get extremely frustrating and generate impatience when some simply do not want to learn facts.

            So, MidddKid, how about learning some science and dredging up some spirit, not just tossing around the naysayers’ & deniers’ “Kool-Aid” KRAP.

            I think you would complain and find fault with ANY number of protesters.

        • Thanes says:

          No you moron, you did drink the Kool-Aid. Only this Kool-Aid is so bad it won’t just kill you and your family, it will kill mine too. Your KoolAid was made by the Koch Brothers and is served by patent stooges like Joe Bastardi. We have clean water that scientists made sure is safe. Good luck with what’s in your cup. Remember, you WILL be drinking it to the lees.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The released locals did they hold only those from out of the area to assure appearance?
    Seems it’s all mysterious sources that say what the Pd are allegedly thinking. Could the concerns about The UK incidents that started peacefully be making the Pd be more strict?
    Any official word to be passed around yet?

  7. Jack E. says:

    Tim DeChristopher just got 2 years for the climate. Numbers of anti-MTR action-istas have done 10, 20 and 60 days to stop the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains and to stop the mining of climate destroying coal. Two nights in jail is the least we can do.

  8. Jkresich says:

    I am one of the ‘four grandmothers’ coming from Montana. We’re flying in to DC tomorrow, and of course the surprise action of the Park Police will have absolutely no deterrent effect on us! We are joining this action with a deep commitment to the earth and future generations. We knew time in jail was a possibility when we signed up and we welcome the chance to take a stong stand.
    Joanie K.

    • Thank you for your service, Joanie. I know that there are many others who are not deterred, but welcome the opportunity to serve the greater good by spending time in jail. Your efforts are incredibly inspiring, and I hope the people back home are cheering you on as much as I am down South. 🙂

    • Thanes says:

      There may be irony but certainly no shame. 90 million tons of carbon go into the air every day and if we get into these Tar Sands, James Hansen says that’s probably our species’ doom. We are on the bridge of the Titanic and the iceberg is dead ahead. You could walk to DC and be Johnny goddam Appleseed planting trees the whole way, but by analogy you might as well lean out a port hole and paddle to change the Titanic’s course. If Obama doesn’t approve the pipeline, humanity buys itself a little more time, and that truly matters. FairBalanced is an evil humanity-destroying prick if his or her intent is to undermine your or my effort to effect something meaningful.
      Global warming is not us offending the Earth spirit, but a specific well-understood problem which has a very specific cause. Humanity won’t survive global warming because of positivity, or if I compost, or recycle. We will survive it if we keep the tar sands IN THE GROUND.

    • Jhwygirl says:

      Joanie – thanks for representing Montana.

    • Ann H says:

      My Mother was born in Bridger, Montana and passed along a “sense of the Earth” to us.
      THANK YOU, THANK YOU for being grandmothers on the march!

      If we were not so decrepit, we’d be there also, but simply can’t, so we do other things.

    • Solitas2 says:

      Thank you sisters! From one fellow grandmother. Had my husband not received his lay off notice I would be by your side. Pledging all tip money next week at my hairdressing job will be sent for legal fees! This I will continue to do until the end. Thank you again for the sake of my grandchildren. Be strong sisters (and brothers) Peace!

    • Alice Mechler says:

      I would be there if I possible could, and I am an 69 year old grandmother too!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Since when did it become NORMAL and LEGAL to arrest NON-VIOLENT protestors?????????????

    Someone, please explain this “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order” to me. I was very upset with all of the “buzz” around this action, all including “ready to get arrested”. NO! It is in our Constitution that we have a RIGHT to PROTEST. It sounds like the people organizing this whole thing want kids to get arrested. This should not be anyone’s goal!!! This is America. Teaching youth to bend over and take it from Police is bullshit.

    I will not participate in an action with organizers encouraging youth to get arrested. This was a protest and from this article, arrest was part of the whole plan. No effing way. The police were in discussion the day before with organizers? What does this teach our youth? Accepting arrest as a part of protesting is complete bullshit. What LAW were they breaking? We no longer have the freedom to protest. We are no longer free. Wake up.

    I am 100% anti-coal/oil/natural gas/nuclear. I am 100% for Wind/solar and all other clean green options. CEO’s who have caused cancer from coal plants should be thrown in jail for murder, not eco-activists…

    • MrsMcKibben says:

      of course the plan was to get arrested.

    • Buffy Boke says:

      Goodness, dear! They were arrested because they were breaking the law! They were standing when they were supposed to keep moving. Of course the plan is to get arrested to bring attention to the problem.

    • ~3B says:

      The plan is not to get arrested. The plan is to be heard/seen/understood. The reality is that we allll knew there would be arrests. No one has encouraged arrest, we are all prepared for such action, because there is a huge and definite history of such. Of course, they will not arrest for peaceful protest, they are arresting for “refusal to obey” and blocking the way and so on. There will always be something they will find to disband such action, especially when it is in the “fiscal interest” of the power players for our movement not to be seen and heard. I think you are just misunderstanding the goals and motivations here. Some of us are willing to speak out, some will post online, some will tell friends, some will attend sit-ins. It takes all types to make something happen. What’s most important is knowledge and exposure. I think it’s terrible that they are jailing activists who have NO goal of violence, anger or anything else, short of the anger that our very own land is on the brink of destruction and we are not getting a vote on that? This should be something on public forum. We should decide as a nation what the outcome of this decision should be. Each state it runs through should vote, everyone who owns property there should vote, and so on. I’m terribly concerned, and I just wanted to add to you that I am very familiar with many of the organizers and promoters of this event and I assure you none of them are encouraging children and youths, nor adults for that matter, to go and be arrested. They are even providing legal support for those who are. They are simply aware that it IS going to happen, it’s expected, given the subject matter and how it affects the power goals of the government. This is why they are providing training, setting small numbers, organizing it in the most responsible manner possible. It’s very sophisticated at this point and I hope no one takes the wrong road and makes it into something that isn’t respectable. Thanks for your time.

      • ~3B says:

        Oh by the way, that whole comment wasn’t “aimed” at your remarks, I was adding my thoughts on other matters in on my comment at the same time 🙂 I was just trying to say directly to you that I have never seen it as teaching the youth to take it from the police, I more see that we are all encouraging and being encouraged to remain lawful and execute our rights, without breaking the laws. I think the training is intended to inform the participants of what is and is not encouraged and allowed, thereby ensuring the most peaceful and lawful protest as possible. As well as “be prepared for arrest” since it is a likely response. I can also understand, while I despise it, the reasons for discouraging the protest, as in many historical situations, there have been the few who have shown up simply to cause mayhem and have often succeeded. Surely we are all against this type of activity and that’s why everyone’s trying to work together. Thanks 🙂

    • Betsy Rose says:

      They are not encouraging the youth to get arrested. Don’t you have to get a permit now a days to protest? Probably no permits allowed to protest in that area. The permit would probably be blocks away where they wouldn’t be seen or heard. Your not 100% anything if your not willing to take a stand! Fight for what you believe in.

      • Anonymous says:

        They are encouraging arrests, they have been tweeting it the past few weeks. If that is part of the plan, then so be it. I’m not sure about the motive behind having 2,000 spread out. Why not all in one place for ten days, like in Egypt? I want the action to be successful, not sure if people getting arrested in front of the White House is the answer, the President isn’t even in DC.

        And I do take a stand. I work for Wind Farms in NY, educating consumers about the dangers of Dirty Energy and switch them to Wind.

        I am not against the activists, I am against the Dirty Energy corporations (who control our government) and I am angry we have lost our rights to protest….

    • Just_facts says:

      Of course there will be arrests…maybe your just very young !! study “Kent University” May 4, 1970 and other peaceful protesting of the so called “War” in the 60’s & 70’s …of course there will be arrests …the aim / goal is to NOT get your head beat in as your being arrested….

      and shame on you for this statement >>>”I will not participate in an action with organizers encouraging youth to get arrested.” now ..go back and watch Josh Fox’s 4 minute video again on this site if you still think this is a game !

      • Anonymous says:

        I am just shocked that getting arrested is expected and apparently accepted. This is an infringement of our constitutional rights. Why no one else is upset about this frightens me…

        • Just_facts says:

          well dear …….I think the statement was something long those lines “our constitutional rights” as the peaceful protesters were shot and killed ( by the National Guard) at Kent University, student demonstrators protesting (sit-in) the brutality of the so called “war” against the innocent people of Vietnam….Soo

          If these people are planning anything …I,m sure, it’s to make sure everyone goes home safely after doing their duty, the duty ALL americans are bound to, but only a few courageous do….detracted nothing from them !! pray for their safety and success …

          • Anonymous says:

            I am allowed to be upset that we have lost our right to protest. That was the purpose of the original post. I was NOT aware that the whole purpose of this action was to get arrested and since I now know that it was, things make a little bit more sense.

            Meanwhile, I just sent an inquiry to film the event and sit-in…

          • Just_facts says:

            Applause yvonne !!! 🙂

        • Moran says:

          I would suggest you read Henry David Thoreau’s book “Civil Disobedience”. He was jailed for not paying a tax he thought unjust. Thoreau wrote: “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.”

        • Dee says:

          It scares the CRAP out of me!

        • firefly says:

          People are upset that their rights are being trampled on, but right now they feel their fight for the planet needs to remain the issue that is heard. The fact is that they are dealing with powers that don’t feel the need to obey the laws of the land and they have shown this on an almost daily basis. We have Clean Air Acts and Clean Water Acts that are not followed despite the death toll that is inflicted to our people. Yet when the organizations that are supposed to enforce these Acts try to their funding is cut so that they are crippled. Today we no longer live in the land of the free home of the brave…we live in the land of the free only when it fits into a large conglomerate game plan for profits…we don’t live in a land of the brave unless those that are being brave are protecting the interests of those same companies. The lines in the sand have been erased and our government has confused itself with the private sector. The words government and corporation are not supposed to mean the same thing. We are now the customers that aren’t always right and a people that stand truly unprotected.

    • Betsy Toll says:

      Non-violent civil disobedience and resistance has always recognized that the power structure imposes punishment when it is challenged. Thoreau knew this and went to jail. Dr. King and his allies knew this and went to jail. Susan B. Anthony knew this and went to jail. Gandhi knew this and went to jail. The list goes on and on. NV action is not walking into a police station requesting arrest, but taking principled strategic action that challenges rules or norms to make a point, with full knowledge that the action will offend some institution. And with the integrity to face the consequences of the “violation” with dignity and conviction. The significance of the action – picking up salt, sitting at a lunch counter — is far more potent and significant than the punishments meted out by power.

    • Nuclear is essential carbon-free energy for capacity to replace significant share of energy we get from coal.
      Constitution hasn’t been respected for a long time now.
      If we had this right to protest, Stewart&Colbert wouldn’t have needed to bother to get a permit to do their rally.

      • Pawl_o says:

        mis information on this comment…..nuclear is not essential ..reducing electric consumption by agressively advertising conservation measures is the most cost effective way…note nuclear is NOT clean soapbox

      • Morten Rasmussen says:

        Nuclear is NOT carbon free. Construction, mining processing of fuel rods, and massive infrastructure around the transport and waste management all contribute to make nuclear a part of the problem, not the solution. In any case it is irrelevant, because nuclear can not deliver on time, if we are to cut carbon emissions by 2020 or even 2030. The number of reactors and capacity is going down, so even replacing existing reactors would be a huge task in itself.

      • firefly says:

        While nuclear is essentially carbon free the toll the planet takes to extract the Uranium is extreme, not to mention the cost of when things go wrong. If a windmill or solar panel explodes the death toll is minimal…not so with nuclear. The rest of your post is dead on.

    • Betsy says:

      Since when? Since always. Read the history of the civil rights movement and the labor movement, the Seabrook anti-nuclear protests, the anti-apartheid protests.

      There are nonviolent protests that are planned to be entirely legal, and the organizers work with police — which parts of the sidewalk can you stand on, etc. You are entirely free to protest this way; we haven’t lost those rights at all. (I was part of a huge rally in support of the Verizon strikers on Friday, with a street blocked off, police standing by and keeping traffic out of the protest area — and making sure employees could get into the building.)

      What TarSands is doing is the other kind, deliberately refusing to move in order to get arrested, in the hopes that this will get more media attention and put more pressure on the politicians. Not everyone wants to join this type of direct action. But it has a long history and can be potent.

    • Greene3 says:

      yvonne — the sad reality of protesting in public in D.C.since Dubya is that there will be media coverage, even just three lines on the back section of the Washington Post, if arrests are made. Otherwise, the event might as well not have happened. This of course does not apply to ANY, however small, event that involves the teabaggers.

  10. Butterflybluelu says:

    The coverage on CBC news has been excellent. The majority of Canadians commenting are in support of the protesters. Best wishes to all who particpate.

  11. Mkurzer says:

    Thanks for this update. My husband (from Alaska) is among the people arrested and this post helps me not being worried.

  12. Lucy Norman Spencer says:

    I cannot believe that my democratic/free speech country locks up peaceful people who appeal in civil disobedience to their President and then warns more people with the same ideas that they should not participate.

  13. Canadian in DC says:

    Is this not time for the ACLU American Civil Liberties Union to spring into action and to ensure that no discriminating rules are being applied to this peaceful protest?

  14. Just Got Out says:

    I just got home from the holding chamber. I believe that responsible civil disobedients were given false information by federal — not District of Columbia — police hours before an organized event. I would do this again, and urge all air-breathing and water-drinking humans to engage in this protest, if not in person, in any other way. If you live near DC, come to the White House and support these people.

  15. Thea_pierce says:

    I will not be able to make it there tomorrow due to my work schedule, but I find the entire situation appalling. All we want is to divert a lethal environment disaster in a completely nonviolent manner. We are attempting to ensure that there will be a sustainable and enjoyable earth for our future generations.

  16. Leslie says:

    If all the great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers would show up, we might be able to do what we did in the sixties to end the Viet Nam War. I guess it’s up to us Baby Boomers once again. What’s a night in jail when we’re on Social Security? Just another travel adventure!! Get on your walkers and join the peace-in! Do it for your great grandchildren this time. One last sit-in before we move on to greener pastures would do us all some good. Come on flower children. Let’s dust off the old VW bus and head out on the highway.

    • Ann H says:

      RIGHT ON! …I participated in many demonstrations and sit-ins in those days, and actually *had* a VW bus.
      My husband is 85, I’m 75. We’re relatively active, but it’s a bit much to travel with his oxygen, mobility issues for both, etc. WE DO NEARBY DEMONSTRATIONS . . . and make our own outstanding signs, too.
      PLEASE Empty Nesters and old folks who are more able — go for us.
      Leslie, maybe you could organize a bus trip for folks in a nearby Senior Ctr or something . . .
      THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENERGY. KEEP IT UP. We have fought environmental battles for decades, with what seems like little result, but perhaps awareness is greater and now is the time.

      If u can get past the moronic negative element in Congress, replace the
      Dominionists with Progressives and regain the spirit of America.

  17. rjgjr says:

    Gotta love dat freedom of speech & chit , LoL .

  18. Louis says:

    No one cares anymore

    • Juliegrantz says:

      If you had someone in the line of fire you would care. Why respond with that attitude?

    • Ann H says:

      Sheeez — what a fatalistic negative attitude. There is alot going on in the world that is dispiriting, but each of us has to keep trying at something positive.
      “No one cares . . .” Hey caring starts with each person — how about you? Don’t you have any reasons to care about your world? Bet you do!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I was not aware that standing on a sidewalk protesting in front of the White House was against the law. Why is the action being held there then? Wouldn’t there be more of an impact to have the action somewhere “legal” with all 2,000 people for ten days?

    Again, I fully support Clean Energy, I support EVERY Clean Energy activist. I have reduced my own petroleum consumption significantly since the BP Drilling Disaster, attended Powershift, protest in NYC and currently work for a Wind Farm. I fully support every single person who can afford to travel to DC and pay a jail fee.

    It just appears as if getting arrested has become the norm, that everyone just accepts this, and THAT frightens me. Protesting is our constitutional right. No one seems to be angry the arrests are happening, everyone seems to be preparing, accepting and glamorizing it…

    The CEO’s of the Dirty Energy companies are the ones who need to be arrested, plain and simple…

    • Moran says:

      Yvonne, what I interpret from this action of civil disobedience is that there are 2,000 people willing to get arrested because they care passionately that the Pipeline not be built. That says a lot. They are people of conscience who are wiling to act on their conscience. None of them have taken this action lightly…. whereas if it were just another rally at a park with absolutely no risk other than a sunburn, what would that signify. Next to nothing.

    • Linda says:

      Yvonne, You are absolutely right about the fact that there should be no arrests for standing, sitting, or dancing or speaking in front of the White House or anywhere else. The Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. I am going to take part in this (I’m another of the Grandmothers from Montana traveling with Joanie) in spite of the fact that I am outraged that the space in front of the White House, which belongs to all of us, seems to have been designated a 1st amendment-free zone. What part of “No law impinging on the right of free speech” don’t they understand? But I will go to the White House and I will gather and speak and if the park police arrest me for what the constitution guarantees me the right to do, I will bear witness. Meanwhile, the idea that groups of people keep coming back and that illegal police tactics don’t deter us does send a powerful message. I think that the fact that we can be arrested for peaceful protesting, which they have no right to arrest us for, is all the more reason to show up. We must not allow the police to prevent us from speaking and acting by the threat of arrest. This action has done more than all the lectures, video links and blog posts to draw attention to the Tar Sands tragedy. Arrests of youth, of gray-hairs like me, of citizens of all ages draw attention to not only the Keystone Pipeline and the Tar Sands, but also to the draconian response of the Park Police. Perhaps someday you and I can go sit down in front of the White House and have our say without being arrested. Until then, I am willing to take part and to risk arrest and to show the world what a sorry state American freedoms have come to at the same time that I put pressure on the President to stop the pipeline.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It is actually a very important point to be made that she flew!!! When Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the 10,000 strong PowerShift Clean Energy conference, those were his words exactly. “How did you get here? Did you fly? Did you take the train, or a car? Fuel was needed.” If we are going to be Clean Energy activists then we MUST begin to make changes in our daily life. Eliminate oil as much as possible. The best way to do that is to stop using plastic immediately. I stopped using plastic bags, bottles and even plastic razors like they are the plague. Support the new HEMP bills that are up for voting soon. If you have a car, convert it to veggie oil. We can make personal changes today, without the help of the government 🙂

    • Thanes says:

      Why? Why MUST we make changes in our daily life? Might be nice to feel good. Might be nice window dressing. But it doesn’t really do diddly squat about 90 million tons per day of carbon into the air. Stopping this pipeline does do something more than that. And if somebody rides a rocket car that makes methane for exhaust, but that person gets through to Obama, well kiss my foot if you pester that person about if he composts.

      • Ann H says:

        I get it and agree about the relative value of stopping this pipeline.

        But making those “little changes” multiplied by millions does add up. And, in the process, people at least hopefully learn and increase awareness and perhaps even try to influence decision-makers. That adds up, also.

        The Keystone XL pipeline is unconscionable and we applaud those who are actively protesting it. When they could not stop the Alaska Pipeline, my hubby worked on correcting some of the stupid design and making it safer. And now — guess what the permafrost IS melting (just like he told them it might) and they can operate less and less weeks of the year.

        • Thanes says:

          The relative value of stopping this pipeline dwarfs walking to work.

          • Craig Nazor says:

            I think it is absolutely essential to reduce carbon as soon as possible. Why? Because here in Austin, Texas, we have broken the record this summer for days over 100ºF and August is not over yet! We are in the middle of the third worst drought in Texas history, with no end in sight. Trees are dying. Rivers and lakes are drying up. Water restrictions are being put into effect.

            Anthropogenic global warming is real, it is happening now, and I am doing something to stop it.

            I can’t be in Washington right now due to my job, but I strongly support what you are doing. I am involved locally with shutting down old coal-fired power plants, stopping the building of new ones, and getting our city to use more renewable energy sources. These are pretty big deals.

            At the same time, I have greatly reduced my own carbon footprint. Why? Because it is good for me spiritually. It is the right way to live. It does not stop me from doing anything that I want to do – it simply makes me more aware of how I live my life. I am know at local stores as the guy who never uses a bag. It starts a conversation. It changes a mind.

            I also give less of my money to the big corporations that I despise. That’s something BIG, to me.

            Thane, you really have not given me a good reason to stop doing that other than “it won’t do any good.” If thoughtful actions change my mind, it changes my life, which changes the world. It’s like thanking the Great Spirit for the gift of a beautiful world – the more thankful I am, the more passion with which I will defend that gift. It matters not one whit if the Great Spirit even exists – it is the power that showing my thankfulness makes in me.

            I understand where you are coming from, but a lot of us are going to be necessary to make this happen, and each of us gets here in our own way. This is going to be a long, tough battle. Let’s keep our eye on the goal.

          • Dr. MJC says:

            You put forth your points very well, Craig! Spot on and intelligently expressed!

    • Thanes says:

      We can make personal changes all we want, and it might make us feel superior, more worthy of survival as responsible denizens of this Earth, but it won’t make that any more likely until there is 1) a price on carbon 2) a ban on carbon or 3) a huge breakthrough that makes carbon-neutral energy cheaper than our current government subsidized carbon based fuels. So no, I don’t really think we can do squat of real value without the ‘help’ of government. I don’t think we will survive without the ‘help’ of government.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you on 1/2/3- I am 150000% FOR clean energy- but we consume energy and oil. We CAN reduce our use WHILE we fight for clean energy. I am not going to wait for a law to be passed to make plastic bags illegal. I am going to stop using them and fight for them to be illegal. Practice what you preach. What changes have you made? How much plastic and oil do you use everyday. How often does you AC run? Do you unplug everything when you leave? All I said was that WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE. I stopped using plastic bags, bottles over a year ago and plastic razors 8 months ago. How much oil did I save? I don’t know. The Government didn’t tell me to do it. It’s a VERY hard lesson to learn, but it is one every activist will learn. We are the one’s who consume the energy. We CAN reduce and change our ways WHILE fighting for clean energy.

      • Just_facts says:

        Thanes, your thinking frightening !! ban on carbon ? help from the government ? …dude what planet do you live on ??????????????????????????????

  21. Spadeandshovel says:

    As always, lots of cynicism and negativity from the people doing nothing.

  22. I have a website at OurWorldReport (dot) com. I am planning to post about this action both on my site as well as on twitter and would love to get photos. If anyone has or will have photo documentation I would appreciate getting any that can be emailed to me. Email to info (at) OurWorldReport (dot) com. Thanks & good luck.

  23. J Broadfield says:

    I’m so proud of you all and will be there to witness and cheer you all on Monday.

  24. Shadow says:

    We are keeping the protesters and their families in our best thoughts! This is a gutsy thing to do not knowing how the peaceful protest will turn out. So much admiration for those willing to take chances to illustrate the enormity of this situation. We just can’t have business as usual and the nation and the world need a wake up call to end dirty fuel and move toward sustainable energy sources. Haters gonna hate on them but hats off to those who are trying to do something good for the planet. You make me so proud, it is our right to peaceful protest and we appreciate your reminder to the nation and the world that PEOPLE DO CARE.

  25. Juliegrantz says:

    This has been an eye opener for me !!! My 20 yr old son has been arrested for something that he feels passionate about. I’m a 50 something who has been in the dark for a long time. God bless the people who are willing to stand up for their beliefs. I’m proud of my son even though I will not get any sleep tonight. We should be thankful for our right to dissent in this country even if it means going to jail. Maybe this is how real change happens !!!!

    • Ann H says:

      You’ve “been in the dark” ? I assume you mean regarding environmental issues. If so, SADLY, THAT IS THE NORM FOR MANY 50-SOMETHINGS. and most of our population.

      Until the U.S. gets off the obsession with celebrities, trivia, and many other mostly-pointless pursuits, our economy will continue down — our children become even less educated than their parents — etc.

      Yep, that is negative, but everyone should be concerned about the shrinking knowledge base of this country, about groups that try to keep teachers from teaching SCIENCE, and especially about about the appalling distance of today’s people from the natural world.

      • Juliegrantz says:

        Your right on all accounts. Thanks to my son I’m becoming educated. I guess knowledge skips every other generation…. Hope I’m not too old to make a difference now!!! I agree that a significant percentage of the young are not in tune with the natural world but I’m fortunate to have a young adult who is. He has taught me lots. Maybe he can teach others….

      • Indigo11 says:

        You’ve identified the strategy used against us…DISTRACTION. Then comes DUMBING DOWN, next DIVISION and finally DOWNFALL. The government under any adminstration has had this hidden agenda up its sleeve. We only THIINK we have a voice through politicians. Therefore we must actually speak for ourselves with our actions.

    • Ann H says:

      Oh, yeah . . . there are more days to protest. Maybe you should go down and join your son and the others who care enough to be there. I’m sure they would be happy to have you and u would learn a lot.

    • Elisabeth Motsinger says:

      I know how proud you are of your son! I applaud you for being open to learning from him. My own son really reawakened my own sense of care for the world about 20 years ago. I hope you got some sleep last night.
      I am going to DC next week-end to participate.

  26. Yna Davis says:

    I don’t intend to let this answer affect my attendance and I’m sure this isn’t the proper place to ask, but how will participation with these legal consequences affect my chance of applying for jobs? As a poor college student, I feel I must ask…

    • Twundit says:

      I’m sure there are jobs where thinking outside your small personal box, sincerity, conviction, and courage are considered an advantage. Keep the pictures .. as they should look good on your CV, with the right story, for the right job.

    • Jens Rasmussen says:

      You should ask this question again at the training (when the legal folks are there) but from my experience of being arrested in actions like this (though not in DC before) there will be nothing on your permanent record. This “offense” is about the same, legally speaking, as a traffic ticket. Hope to see you there!

  27. Utopiasun says:

    Watching from Australia, we support you! Thank you for this courageous act!

  28. Thanes says:

    Had a great dinner tonight with Matt and English, Vanessa Clay and Kyle and all the kids. Great, wonderful time, have to do that alot more.
    Subject came up of my recent burst of ‘political’ posting, and I realized I might be mis-understood when someone was surprised I wasn’t a huge glass recycler.
    Global warming isn’t about ‘getting right with our planet,’ per se. Making personal changes, composting, worrying about landfills, using the bike lane, might make us feel more self-righteous as we and our children drown in 85 degree water, but that doesn’t make me feel better. If my children survive, that makes me feel better. And that requires actual progressive reduction in carbon emissions within 8-10 years or we all die. 90 million tons of carbon goes into the atmosphere every day, and me being the only person on the street with solar panels won’t mean shit. There is only one action-stop adding carbon to the skies- only three solutions-or we probably all die, or whisk we did.
    1) Carbon tax or cap-and-trade-there is a cost to carbon the free market hasn’t priced in but we all pay in dying by global warming. The advantages of solar panels inaccurately have no current dollar value and that can be fixed. Let the market do the rest and let human ingenuity fix this in two or three years, plus make a shitload of good jobs.
    2) Ban carbon. Become Russia or something. Seems like a bad idea, but if that’s what’s left, better than dying.
    3) Have some breakthrough like fusion save all our asses. The lottery ticket option. Don’t know the odds, but they aren’t 100%. With survival of the species involved, I’d like to look for 100%.
    Global warming isn’t about all of us living more virtuously. Fuck virtue. I don’t care if you or I compost, and it seems to me like most Conservative White Males think this is about getting right with the Earth Mother. Bullshit. This is about carbon.
    Same way DDT was about a chemical that softened raptors’ eggs. It wasn’t about the Eagle Spirit. It was about scientists finding an actual process, a serious problem, and a specific solution, banning DDT.
    Acid rain wasn’t about overpopulation, and that there should be alot fewer of us. It was about sulfur emission, and when we used a Republican idea of cap and trade, it was pretty much without cost, we stopped emitting sulfur, and the leaves came back.
    Same with carbon. Landfills, smandfills. Sure, I don’t want to use up a lot of land stupidly. Sure, I should be more thoughtful of cows.
    But if we keep the Tar Sands in the ground, we’ll possibly make it. If we keep the XL pipeline from being built, we might keep the sands in the ground.
    And right now, we are on the bridge of the Titanic. We are heading for an iceberg. And the Captain (the government) has to turn the helm. You might eat organic lentil soup. Yay. You might make your own clothes out of dioxin and uranium. Yay. Who gives a crap. 90 million tons of carbon every day going into the air, and it pretty much all has to stopl And nothing else matters.

    • Candy Bless says:

      Can I share some of your comment? We’re fighting from Nebraska to keep this awful pipeline from running through the aquifer that covers our state and provides water to farms and homes in 5 states.

      Keep fighting the good fight!

    • Old enough to have learned says:

      I think you all are nuts. Carbon credits will do little if anything to stop carbon emmisions. It will only make people who hold the ‘credits’ (like Al Gore) rich. Do you think in 8-10 years the car industry for instance will magically convert away from steel and iron? Go to what ‘plastics’ ….derived from carbon?They will pay a carbon tax then raise the price of cars, trucks, and buses.
      You want to ban carbon!? WTH will replace it? There will be minimal (meaning almost none) electricity (wind, solar, and hydeo-electric combined produce maybe 10% of our comsumption), no gasoline, no cars, no plastics, no rubber. We’d be back in the village /agraian life style. There would be massive death, sickness, and starvtion. The food supply would almost dry up… high producing seeds or fertilizers, no tractors. Any food that would be grown would probably spoil because there would be no cans for can goods, no plastic wrap or other packaging, and no refrigeration. And you banned the trucks and gasolineto move foods fromone part of the country to another.
      Stopping the production of ‘carbon’ may seem like a good idea on the surface, but doing so will kill more of your children and grandchildren than any other single action. Just as recent as 100 years ago about 40% of children died in infancy. And you want to go back to that?
      Until you invent a significantly viable alternative, cutting of carbon is cutting of your nose to spitey our face.

    • Just_facts says:

      Good Lord, global warming is bullshit !! the destruction of the earth and the people who live on it is real !! here’s a big clue >>> Humans, people breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide, plants, trees do the opposite; breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen…the rest of your rant makes no sense ..

  29. Go you awesome people! You are doing a great thing.

  30. Jaynkaz says:

    I live in New Zealand and would like to applaud all taking action, both directy and indirectly against this act of environmental vandalism. Thank you from me, my children and all generations to come. Good luck, best wishes.

  31. Do says:

    Protests are not “creative” non-violence, they are the most absorbable form of non-violence by the violence. What we need is creative non-violence where the Creative is emphasized. Honestly, Colbert’s SuperPAC is the most important act of creative non-violence we’ve seen in decades and it stands a chance at making a real impact. When was the last time a protest stopped a way waged by the USA? Some scholars argue that the Vietnam protests actually extended the war — we need action at this point, not symbols.

  32. David Smith says:

    Why are people who are being arrested being treated differently; DC residents released while others held 2-1/2 days for breaking the same law. That doesn’t sound like equal treatment. What’s going on. The first thing that came to mind was DC voters treated nice. Use of incarceration as deterent for out of towners.

    • Floatingdock says:

      It is illegal for them to hold DC residents over night. The organizers did not share that with any of the out of towners, I can only hope it was because they hadn’t done their research and not to do whatever they could to beef up numbers. We had guest from out-of-town who participated and got arrested. They’d have made better back-ups plans had they not been assured it was “highly unlikely” they would be detained for long.
      As for DC Voters, the Park Police are federally run, not locally, so they aren’t accountable to us. And, for the record…we have no vote in Congress, never have. We always wish people like Bill McKibben would include our voting rights in their public statement while visiting our fair city.

    • Just Got Out says:

      Residents of the ‘region’ were allowed to go home. Residence — not citizenship — in DC and Maryland and Virginia suburbs, as far away as Baltimore.

  33. sad commentary on our country– that protesting is made difficult with arresting peaceful people– thanks, to all for participating in the protest and to the others that are coming in the days ahead. The investors in fossil fuels at the expense of the earth and life have gone mad with their desire for money and power.

  34. Pgamba1007 says:

    It makes me sad to see peaceful protests treated like this. A fine is more than ennough. Jail time is a brutal a consequence for this type of activity. We have become a society who has become fearful of each other and have lost our way in many areas.

  35. Floatingdock says:

    A promise by the Park Police is worthless, they have never made a promise they intended to keep. They’re just not like that.
    Some unsolicted tips from a DC activist:
    1) Be more forthcoming with out of towners that they are more likely to be detained for longer since they could be categorized as a flight risk and it is illegal for the Park Police to keep DC residents overnight.
    2) In DC, Activists of Color are always treated more poorly than their White counterparts. Please make sure to be very thorough when you prepare First Nations activists coming down from Canada.
    3) Your legal aids are doing a great job trying to calm down worried friends/family. I imagine it was pretty demoralizing to see what the value of a Park Police promise actually is (if they offer you a great deal on a bridge in Brooklyn…run, don’t walk).
    4) As you visit our sweet city please take a moment to learn about the plight of taxation without representation. We need folks in the 50 states to stand for us so we can be represented in Congress. Then we may be able to hold our park police more accountable…which would benefit everyone.

    Otherwise, great cause and a well run action.

  36. Mark Skudlarek says:

    I’ve wondered about this “Failure to obey a lawful order” trash.

    As a civilian, I have never been given any training on what is and is not a lawful order, nor do I know who might have the authority to give me one. Anyone can buy a cop uniform and a bullhorn.

    Last time I was arrested at the White House (December 2010), a solitary cop wielding a bullhorn gave the warnings to the group. I never heard the warnings because I was busy shouting at the Big House occupants. So I never received any order, so that I might be able to go down my pocket list of “lawful orders” to see if it was one.

    When the second warning is heard, everyone should disperse, wait an hour, and then come right back again.

  37. Jfreiberg says:

    My son got arrested yesterday and I am very proud of him for standing up for his believes.

    Way to go!

    For me the big issue isn’t oil. The issue for me has always been the trees. This is really, really bad for Canadian forests. Tar sand extraction destroys part of the Boreal Forest. 10.6 million acres of Boreal Forest cover the tar sands. The pipeline will eliminate a bottleneck for Canadian tar sand extraction industry. Consequently it will increase forest destruction significantly and reduce the Boreal Forests ability to act as a carbon sink. This pipeline should not be built.

    Thank you to all who have stood for this issue and have not walked away from it.

  38. MMcCoy says:

    I had not fully committed to take part in the DC protest until I heard about the new ploy by the park police. Now I will be standing proud with my Appalachian Brothers and sisters as well as my fellow patriots from across the nation. See you in DC.

  39. I like and support this non-violence protest. As a Canadian of Bangladeshi Origin deeply concern regarding Global Warming. Year 2008 myself, Rita Bijon and Andriana Hamu walked from Toronto to Ottawa to make public aware of environmental desaster. Our walk was called “Sunshine walk”

  40. Jens Rasmussen says:

    When those who commit crimes against the public commons walk free – the place for a just citizen is in jail. I look forward to joining those who have gone before me.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be there on the 24th. By pure dumb luck, I got through the sixties without getting arrested so it’s about time. I think those of us who are seniors have a special obligation to stick our necks out for this issue. How about a Geezers Against Global Warming cadre?

  42. Anonymous says:

    So, you are protesting for Americans to freeze in the dark. Or are you shills for the Saudis, who don’t want to lose their best customer?

    • wickedrache says:

      Wow, an astounding comment. So full of division and hate – either these activists must be stupid, or they must be the “enemy”!
      There is no enemy here but corporate structures that depend on the conventional oil-based technology, and spread hate and dismissiveness towards those who question those conventions, given the fact that they are damaging and out of date. We don’t need to rely on that technology, lest we “freeze in the dark”.
      If you are so mystified about activists’ motives, maybe look into them? As others have said in these comments, the tar sands’ exploitation is a potentially devastating stand in the battle to bring us to our senses before we truly fuck our chances as a species. The activism makes sense; assume that for a moment and then listen and decide what you think about it. If you come into it assuming activists are out to get you one way or another, how can you learn from what unfolds in your world?
      No, they are neither working for those you have pegged ‘enemy’ , nor do they misunderstand or wish Americans ill. They are defending something much more important than these petty suggestions.

  43. Morten Rasmussen says:

    Great work, boys and girls! I wish I could be there with you, but it’s a bit long from Denmark to Washington D.C. Keep up the good work, and don’t think that you are alone, there’s thousands of people behind you, even when you can’t see any. We are here, and don’t you forget it.

    Morten Rasmussen,

  44. Carolyn Shaw says:

    Well, I’m a grandmother coming from Connecticut to sit in on August 31..and I’m especially enjoying the comments from my generation.. I wish I could meet you all after I take the train down from New Haven. This is a time for us all to put our collective feet down on behalf of our treasured grandchildren….Last night I watched the ABC documentary, Earth 2100..and I know for sure that in traveling to Washington during these days we’re absolutely doing the right thing.

  45. Nature never did betray the heart that loved her…mindful of your heroic protest…from a cottage in the West of Ireland.

  46. Rosemary says:

    Each one of you represents thousands of us who for whatever reason aren’t able to be there.
    Much appreciation and thanks for those who have taken time from work and their families to place your bodies on the line!

  47. Bonniedegray says:

    go Bill! And Vermont…Mother Earth needs US!

  48. Lankster57 says:

    Kudos and blessings to all who are taking their time and resources to participate in this protest.

  49. Hold Acountable says:

    Where is the list of Congressmen and Senators that need to be contacted. What are each ones position? Start pumping this information to the people and hold these politicians accountable for each vote. If they are voting against the peoples will who put them in office, it is only a short time before they no longer hold their positions.

  50. Margot Kidder says:

    And I’m another one of the Montana grandmothers. The issue is not whether young people get arrested or not; the issue is that we MUST bring immediate and loud attention to a grave situation that has the potential to obliterate our species and planet as we know them. We are willing to put our bodies on the line to do so.
    My friend Tantoo Cardinal is with me, the fifth and honourary Montana grandmother, who was born in Fort McMurray Alberta, the headquarters for the tar sands oil companies, and who grew up in a village near there that has been decimated by the tar sands with no thought to the aboriginal peoples who live there. Her village is no longer there. The lives of her people have not only been unwillingly put on the line but many have died because of it. Please respect that and stop quibbling about what are ultimately irrelevancies.
    I welcome being arrested. I will be proud of it. Even if we only wake up one or two police officers. If everyone we wake up wakes up at least five other people, just think how monumental that would be!
    Margot Kidder

  51. Lisajofinstrom says:

    I was one of those arrested today, August 23rd. The police were very professional and courteous. I felt lucky to be a part of civil disobedience in America. I don’t think the police give warning in places like Syria. We were well trained and aware that anything was possible, including a repeat of Saturday’s weekend detainment of many as a “deterrent.” Now I’m looking to do more. I’m thinking of setting a goal of finding 100 people who will commit to writing the White House in the September. I’m thinking of calling everyone I can think of, maybe even bugging the neighbors.

  52. Morten Rasmussen says:

    Check out They are very interested in people who will do what they can where they can. Both tar sands and coal are major issues in GP, and you will also find solutions to the problems that they campaign against on their web site under reports.

    Best of luck to you all, I can’t be there, since I’m in Denmark, but wish I could be.

    Just been handed a 2 week suspended jail sentence in the Copenhagen city court for taking part in this one:

  53. TimeBandit says:

    I don’t understand why people are being arrested for voicing their opinions. I know. I know, the “failure to obey a lawful command.” Which is a much less important than the right to peacefully protest. The police look at a group of people like that and see $$$. How many people can we leach off of, how many tickets we can write. Meanwhile DC is still the “murder capitol of the world.” People get so wrapped up in ad hominem arguments like whether or not The actress who starred in “Splash” is qualified to voice her opinions about oil, cause “Der, her, she uses a car don’t she!” Unfortunately we all have to breathe the air, we all have to drink the water, me, you and Obama’s family included. Animals don’t get a chance to voice their opinions, they just die.
    Who knows, maybe the earth is like an engine. Maybe it needs some of that oil in it to run. All the other planets are going to be scratching their heads wondering why the Earth is on the side of the road dead.

  54. Shmizer says:

    “flying into DC tomorrow” for the tar sands protest? Does no one else see the irony?

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