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Keystone XL protesters outside White House 3-2-14
With 86,000 people pledged to get arrested over Keystone XL, expect a lot more
protests like Sunday's at the White House.
"Hey! Obama! We don't want no pipeline drama!"

That was one of the chants of an estimated 1,000 mostly young demonstrators who marched from Georgetown University to Lafayette Park across from the White House Sunday to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Along the way, they briefly stopped at Secretary of State John Kerry's house. Because the pipeline would cross the Canada-U.S. border, Kerry is charged with advising President Obama as to whether it is in the "national interest."

Speakers in the park explained their opposition to Keystone XL and the continued burning of fossil fuels as hundreds of protesters zip-tied themselves to the White House fence. Others lay down as part of a "human oil spill."

By the end of the day 398 of them had been arrested for civil disobedience for "blocking the sidewalk."

Unlike such acts during the civil rights era when police turned firehoses, dogs and billy-clubs onto crowds, protesters were taken Sunday in their plastic zip-cuffs to waiting police vans smiling and laughing as their supporters cheered them on. As has been the case with most Keystone XL-related arrests, this was catch-and-release, with protesters fined and let go. There was no violence on the part of protesters or police.

This is just the latest round of Keystone XL-related arrests at the White House that began in 2011. Not likely to be the last. More than 86,000 people have taken the CREDO pledge to be arrested, if necessary, in opposition to the pipeline. President Obama is expected to announce his decision on whether to approve construction sometime after May 1, but the "after" could be days, weeks or months.

Please read below the fold for more about Sunday's protest.

Keystone protest DC 3-2-14
Bill McKibben, co-founder of the climate-change advocacy group, and one of the first people of prominence to have been arrested at the White House in 2011 for protesting Keystone, said in an email: "An entire movement has thrown itself into in this Keystone fight, from local frontline groups to big national green organizations. But this weekend shows the power and bravery of some of the most crucial elements: young people, and activists who understand the centrality of environmental justice."

And Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote:

Those who scoff at climate change are often the very people who are insulated by age, status and money from the direct impacts of climate change. History will not remember the scoffers and deniers kindly. Young people have a different perspective and we can see that they are making different choices.

We know that young people are aligning differently politically. And university students around the country have voted to divest from fossil fuel companies. They do not want to be even tangentially associated with companies responsible for climate change. So it is no surprise that hundreds were willing to be arrested to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Clearly, there are more to come.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Hellraisers Journal, Protest Music, Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, Barriers and Bridges, Climate Hawks, and Daily Kos.

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