On the 15th of October, over 50 environmental activists and Texas landowners whose land is being stolen by TransCanada for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline swarmed onto the construction site to reinforce blockade that has now been in place for over three weeks, since the 24th of September.
There were two main functions of the massive "walk-on" on the 15th of October. One purpose was to resupply the treesit, as the police are attempting to starve out the blockaders. The other purpose may have been to punish TransCanada for their Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation or SLAPP lawsuit expanded to 21 people from the original 19 people and three organizations.
Here is the timeline of how things went down on the 15th, from the tarsandsblockade.org website:
8:15AM - Supporters rally nearby to stop the pipeline.
8:30PA- A beautiful morning in what remains of our East Texas forest. TransCanada has clear-cut outside of their designated pathway and around the west side of the tree blockade leaving a muddy path of destruction in their wake.
8:45 – Video: Over 50 blockaders walk onto the Keystone XL pathway!
9:00AM - One blockader arrested after sitting down in the path of Keystone XL and refusing to leave.
9:06AM- Three blockaders have been arrested. We outnumber TransCanada’s police 3 to 1. Two blockaders have locked down to excavator equipment protecting the tree blockade.
9:20AM- Livestream videographer has been detained and handcuffed, but they’re STILL STREAMING! Police are trying to flank groups of protestors.
9:45AM- Small group of ground blockaders break through police line and enter tree blockade!
9:50AM- TransCanada supervisors in an ATV shouting orders to their paid police force.
10:00AM- 4 arrests so far. Freelance journalist/livestreamer Lorenzo Serna has been released. The rally at the easement near the highway is going strong with chanting, singing and lots of colorful banners. TransCanada is barking orders at the police.
11:00AM- Today’s first solidarity rally in Washington DC is beginning now outside the American Petroleum Institute!
11:10AM- 6 blockaders have been arrested at the Tree Blockade.
11:35AM- Picture from the DC solidarity rally. Over sixty people turned out over their lunch hour to stand with the Texas blockade and stop Keystone XL.
12:00PM- We just did a call-in with the solidarity rally in DC! “We are not deterred by the legal and police repression we are facing. We will continue and we hope you will help in this fight against the Keystone XL.
12:50PM-We have now confirmed that a 70-year-old woman participating in the blockade was thrown to the ground and tackled by TransCanada’s hired thugs.
1:55PM – At least eight people have been arrested after walking onto the Keystone XL clear cut in defiance of recent repression. Two blockaders are still locked to huge excavator in the path of toxic pipeline.
3:20PM- Solidarity rally in Denton, TX has begun!
3:50 PM - Two blockaders who locked themselves to Keystone XL machinery have been arrested. A crowd of supporters stood by and cheered for as they were taken into police custody to the cheers. These two most recent arrests make 10 total for the day.
4:00PM – Our first arrestee has been released without charges. He was arrested early this morning when he sat down in the Keystone XL’s pathway and refused to move. His defiant action helped delay police officers and allowed other blockaders to breach the police line and enter the tree blockade. After he was arrested he was made to lie face-down in the mud for several hours. He continued to refuse compliance with the police and siting health concerns had to eventually be removed on a stretcher. He was later released from the hospital without charges.
4:15PM- Solidarity photo in front of the TransCanada offices in Westborough, Massachusettes. Thank you!