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Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Arrests at Keystone XL Tar Sands Sit-in are “Lighting a Fire” [Bill McKibben send message from jail: “The only thing we need is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need your company.”]

More Arrests at Keystone XL Tar Sands Sit-in are “Lighting a Fire”

This morning, while 50 of their friends faced another day in jail, 45 more Americans were arrested as part of an ongoing sit-in at the White House this morning.The DC Park Police have been telling organizers of the sit-in that they were keeping the first wave of demonstrators in jail in order to deter people from taking part in the civil disobedience. In fact, the arrests have had just the opposite affect.
“Saturday’s arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was arrested Saturday. “More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join. On Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They’ll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading.”
Tidwell was released from jail Saturday evening along with 9-12 DC residents. Amongst those still being held at Central Cell Block was writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the protests.
McKibben sent a message from jail saying, “The only thing we need is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need your company.”
He got his wish this morning as another 45 people were taken away by DC Park Police. Another 50-100 people will be taking part in a civil disobedience training this evening at a DC church in preparation for Monday’s sit-ins. Amongst those preparing for arrest are a group of Nebraska farmers and a ranchers who have been working to resist the proposed pipeline back in their home state.
“Nebraskans are counting on President Obama to do the right thing,” said Jane Kleeb, Director of Bold Nebraska, who will be risking arrest on Monday. “Back home we are fighting to protect our land and water. We decided to bring that fight to the President’s doorstep because our families’ legacies, those that homesteaded the very land now threatened by a foreign oil company, are too important for us sit on the sidelines. We are acting on our values and expect our President to act as well.”
Earlier this summer, a young man named Tim DeChristopher was sentenced for two years in jail for disrupting the sale of federal land for oil and gas drilling. He and his allies in Utah spoke of the need for “joy and resolve,” both in the face of  the climate crisis and in specific situations like civil disobedience.
Both joy and resolve are in good supply here in Washington, DC, along with an unbending determination to continue the Tar Sands sit-in over the days to come.

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