First Nations Predict “Hordes” Will Disrupt Parliament Hill If Pipelines Approved

Katzie First Nation Chief Susan Miller (left) and her sister, Debbie Miller, stand with protesters outside the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain hearings in Burnaby, B.C. on Wed. Jan. 20, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Katzie First Nation Chief Susan Miller (left) and her sister, Debbie Miller, stand with protesters outside the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain hearings in Burnaby, B.C. on Wed. Jan. 20, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

First Nations in opposition of Trudeau government’s approval of pipelines

By Elizabeth McSheffrey | National Observer

First Nations chiefs across Canada haven’t discussed the details of the plan yet, but they aren’t ruling anything out if the Trudeau government approves the construction of a major pipeline project that crosses their territory without their consent. Several are still waiting on the results of court cases before they make their move, and others are already preparing for the worst.

“You may see hordes descending upon Parliament Hill,” said Chief Susan Miller, of the Katzie First Nation in B.C. “We have had some discussion around what civil action would look like, and I think the more we work together, that’s what brings out the hordes. It’s an impressive sight, to see thousands of people coming out for a common cause.”

Last year, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to renew nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous communities, and has repeatedly told Canadians since then that “governments grant permits, communities grant permission.” And after the historic signing of a pan-continental Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, Indigenous leaders have renewed their resolve to hold him to those promises with all resources available to them.

“In that crowd, you’re not just going to see First Nations people, you’re going to see your neighbour next door who doesn’t support this either,” Chief Miller, whose community is fighting Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion pipeline, told National Observer.

“We’re just the vessel to push that all through, and I think when the numbers speak like that, the government can’t continue to disregard [us].”

Tsleil-Waututh spokesperson Rueben George, Coun. Charlene Aleck, and manager of cultural relations Gabriel George open the signing ceremony for the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion in Vancouver, B.C. on Thurs. Sept. 22, 2016

Tsleil-Waututh spokesperson Rueben George, Coun. Charlene Aleck, and manager of cultural relations Gabriel George open the signing ceremony for the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion in Vancouver, B.C. on Thurs. Sept. 22, 2016

Youth action in Ottawa in October

Nearly 90 Indigenous leaders in Canada and the U.S. have already signed the Treaty Alliance, which aims not only to protect their territories from pipeline, tanker, and rail projects, but to move society towards cleaner, leaner, living as well. Major proposals they take issue with include Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion (from Alberta to B.C.), TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline (from Alberta to New Brunswick), and Enbridge Northern Gateway (from Alberta to B.C.)

But the presence of non-Indigenous allies, including a number of environmental organizations, at its signing ceremonies in Montreal and Vancouver, add weight to Chief Miller’s claim: Indigenous activists in North America are not alone.

“We strive to act in solidarity with Indigenous folks,” said Gabriel D’Astous, a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia and pipeline protest organizer for Climate 101. “They’ve been on the front lines and blocking tar sands projects that threaten the earth and water, and have been defending their rights and lands for years and decades now.”

D’Astous and his team are organizing a youth rally in Ottawa on Oct. 24 to urge the Trudeau government to reject the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion, which has been opposed by at least 21 municipalities and 17 First Nations in Western Canada. He said he, and many of the other protesters, are willing to be arrested in what he hopes will be the largest youth civil disobedience action of its kind in Canada.

Youth have been a powerful force in pipeline protests across the country, including this demonstration against the Trans Mountain expansion in Vancouver, B.C. on Aug. 17, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Youth have been a powerful force in pipeline protests across the country, including this demonstration against the Trans Mountain expansion in Vancouver, B.C. on Aug. 17, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Preparing for pipeline protests

While First Nations, environmentalists and other key stakeholders across North America argue that oilsands expansion increases the risk of catastrophic oil spills, threatens critical marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and pushes international climate targets out of reach, energy companies argue that they will revitalize struggling Canadian economies by bringing energy to overseas markets. Industry also argues that they are using state-of-the-art technology that promotes responsible development of resources such as the vast oilsands deposits in Alberta – considered to be the world’s third largest reserve of crude oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

All of the major pipeline companies say they are also trying to work collaboratively with First Nations. For example, Kinder Morgan says it has signed more than 20 “mutual benefit agreements” with Indigenous communities along the route of its Trans Mountain corridor. These would be confidential agreements that could include education and training for pipeline construction jobs as well as improvements to community services, infrastructure and other benefits.

Greenpeace — one of the loudest environmental organizations speaking out against pipelines — doesn’t buy industry’s logic. Since the start of the year, it has trained 800 protesters across Canada with new skills in non-violent action, civil disobedience, and media communications during 40 training sessions conducted in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Nunavut, and Quebec.

Calls requesting the training sessions peaked after the National Energy Board (NEB) conditionally recommended the Trans Mountain expansion in May, said trainer and organizer Earyn Wheatley, and have been steady since the conflict of interest scandal involving former Quebec premier Jean Charest, TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, and the NEB was brought to light over the summer.

“I think there could be unprecedented mobilization and action in opposition to these pipelines if the projects go forward in the way that they have been,” the Greenpeace staffer explained. “That’s definitely a core interest of people who are coming to participate in these trainings — they’re very concerned about those pipelines, and many are saying that the NEB process has been very problematic.”

The organization plans to hold 15 more protest training sessions before the end of the year, with those in Quebec targeting Energy East, and those in B.C. targeting the Trans Mountain expansion, which is due for a decision from the federal government on Dec. 19. Teagan Stacey, a graduate of these trainings, has even started her own non-violent ‘kayaktivist’ group called the BC Seawolves, which will stand in solidarity against Trans Mountain with Greenpeace and First Nations.

“We’re showing the government that we’re not going to let this go through, and if they think they can push it through where members of this oppose it, we’re going to make sure it’s stopped,” she told National Observer. “We recognize this has huge implications for the rest of our country, and the rest of the world through tar sands expansion. All of that we bring with us out in the water.”

Kayaktivists target the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C. during a protests against the company's Trans Mountain expansion on Sat. May 14, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Kayaktivists target the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C. during a protests against the company’s Trans Mountain expansion on Sat. May 14, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

First Nations happy to have cross-Canada allies

While not all Indigenous nations in Canada are opposed to oilsands expansions, and some have signed on in support of pipelines crossing their territories, those who oppose the energy projects are happy to have allies across the country. They’re also happy to serve as allies to others, said Tsleil-Waututh First Nation spokesperson Rueben George, who recently visited the Standing Rock Sioux fighting the Dakota access pipeline in North Dakota.

He said their movement, which has recently prompted a halt in construction of the controversial pipeline, has been guided by their elders, cultural, and spiritual values, and the movement in Canada will be too.

“I know [our] elders, community and leadership have been doing the same thing,” he told National Observer. “Campaign promises were made to boost not only the health of First Nations and nation-to-nation negotiation, but economics as well. Doors are opening for that. I’m excited about that.”

Chief Terry Teegee of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council in Prince George, B.C., who met George at the Treaty Alliance signing in Vancouver on Thursday, said he too, is excited about the shifting relationship between First Nations, governments, and the rest of Canada. What’s happening in North Dakota at the Standing Rock Sioux camp will most certainly be replicated across the provinces, he explained, “if it comes to that.”

“I think [pipeline approval] will be for I believe, many First Nations, a tipping point of our relations with government and corporations where we’ll have to stand up for what we feel is right, and protect our rights and title, and Mother Earth,” he said at the signing. “We very much appreciate the outside help. It feels great knowing we have allies out there.”

This article was originally published by September 27th 2016

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/09/27/news/first-nations-predict-hordes-will-disrupt-parliament-hill-if-pipelines-approved


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Pipeline Fighters Arrested In North Dakota And Iowa After Disrupting Dakota Access Worksites (VIDEO)

Dakota Access Pipeline Fighters Arrested

By Black Powder Red Power Media, Staff, Aug 31, 2016

Arrests were made Wednesday at a Dakota Access pipeline worksite after demonstrators disrupted construction, west of the main protest site ― where hundreds of mostly Native Americans are camped out.

Construction has been stopped for days near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, while the Dakota Access company and those opposing its controversial oil pipeline await a court decision on Sept 9th. Dakota Access has agreed not to drill under the Missouri River; However, construction has continued elsewhere. And today, protesters targeted one of those spots.

Sheriff’s deputies spent all morning trying to get down Dale American Horse Jr, who is known as Happy, after he attached himself to heavy machinery at a Dakota Access construction site, near State Highway 6 south of St. Anthony, or about 20 miles west of the main protest site near Standing Rock. Problems in taking apart the equipment slowed his release into custody. The site had to shut down for the day.

The Grand Forks Herald‎ reports, Morton County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said two protesters, using what appeared to be tape and PVC pipe or casting type of material, bound themselves to a piece of machinery that appeared in the video. Authorities called the Mandan Rural Fire Department to help cut the men free.

Around 11:15 a.m., Authorities pushed a group of protesters surrounding American Horse back 100 yards. At least two were taken into custody.

According to the Bismarck Tribune, Eight Dakota Access Pipeline protesters had been arrested as of 2:05 today

Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said today’s act to chain themselves to Dakota Access Pipeline equipment was done by members of the Red Warrior Camp.

Goldtooth said the Red Warrior Camp is made up of Dakota and Lakota people residing within the original Sacred Stone spirit camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The Sheriff’s Department arrested protesters for a variety of charges including suspicion of preventing arrest, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and obstruction to a government function.

The pipeline fighters in Standing Rock have so far succeeded in halting construction and the mainstream media has been criticized for lack of coverage on the Dakota Access pipeline protests. Much of today’s action by the Native American activists opposed to the pipeline, unfolded live on social media sites.

Julia Slocum of Ames, Iowa, is placed under arrest on trespassing charges by a member of the Boone County Sherrif's Department on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in Boone, Iowa. People gathered to voice their opinion against the development of the Bakken Pipeline during a rally on four of the entrances to the pipeline construction site. The Des Moines Register via AP Bryon Houlgrave

Julia Slocum of Ames, Iowa, is placed under arrest on trespassing charges by a member of the Boone County Sherrif’s Department on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, in Boone, Iowa.

30 arrested in Iowa at the Bakken pipeline protest

Meanwhile, after a Judge denied a restraining order, pipeline fighters in Iowa at other end the Dakota Access, ―also known as the Bakken pipeline― met Wednesday morning to learn the techniques of peaceful civil disobedience. In the afternoon, more than 100 protesters converged on the Farm Progress grounds in Boone, and a few dozen blocked four entrances to the construction site grounds. Those who would not move to make way for vehicles coming in and out were arrested by law enforcement officials with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and Iowa State Patrol.

KCCI’s Mark Tauscheck reported the first arrest happened about 2:48 p.m.

30 arrested protesters were arrested and taken to the Boone County Jail on charges of trespassing, the sheriff’s department said.

Protesters are arrested by Iowa State troopers as they march against the Dakota Access pipeline near Pilot Mound on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 31, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Protesters are arrested by Iowa State troopers as they march against the Dakota Access pipeline near Pilot Mound on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 31, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

For two years, activists in Iowa have been demonstrating against Dakota Access, which is placing 346 miles of pipeline in 18 Iowa counties, crossing the state on a diagonal from northwest to southeast. It’s part of the interstate route that starts in the Bakken fields of North Dakota, crosses part of South Dakota and the width of Iowa before ending at a distribution hub in Illinois.

Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline project has grown fierce as landowners, Indigenous people, farmers, and environmentalists have banded together in opposition.

A person sits in protest at the site of construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in central North Dakota, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Authorities say that they have cut free the man who bound himself to construction equipment as part of a protest at a Dakota Access oil pipeline about 20 miles west of a main protest site in North Dakota. The Bismarck Tribune via AP Tom Stromme

Dale American Horse Jr, who is known as Happy, sits in protest at the site of construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Photo: The Bismarck Tribune via AP Tom Stromme

Dakota Access Pipeline Owners, File Lawsuit Against Standing Rock Sioux Protesters

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota. (AP Photo| James MacPherson)

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota. (AP Photo| James MacPherson)

Dakota Access said in court papers that threats have been made, rocks and bottles thrown

By: AP | Bismarck | August 16, 2016

Developers of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline sued in federal court Monday to stop protesters near an American Indian reservation in North Dakota from interfering with the project, alleging the safety of workers and law enforcement is at risk.

Dakota Access LLC filed a lawsuit against Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II and other protesters, seeking restraining orders and unspecified monetary damages.

The protesters “have created and will continue to create a risk of bodily injury and harm to Dakota Access employees and contractors, as well as to law enforcement personnel and other individuals at the construction site,” the company wrote in court papers.

Archambault was among several protesters charged last week with disorderly conduct or criminal trespass at the construction site near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.

The tribe sued federal regulators late last month for approving the pipeline, which will take crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois and cross the Missouri River just upstream of the reservation. The tribe argues the pipeline would disturb sacred sites and affect drinking water for the thousands of residents on the reservation and the millions who rely on it downstream.

Dakota Access said in court papers that threats have been made to workers, and rocks and bottles have been thrown, and that Archambault excused tribal employees from work last week to protest the pipeline’s construction.

Archambault told reporters Monday that he was arrested for “doing what everybody else was doing: demonstrating.” He said he expected more arrests and acts of civil disobedience to continue, calling the pipeline “a black poisonous snake” that “is made from nothing but greed.”

Workers accompanied by armed private security guards started construction on the project near the reservation last week.

Several sheriff’s deputies and about 30 North Dakota Highway Patrol troopers were on site Monday, and the highway patrol asked motorists to avoid a state highway near the reservation because of the protests.

Texas-based Dakota Access claims the protesters are causing the company “to lose goodwill among its customers” because of delays and are “diminishing” its “opportunity to complete construction of the pipeline’s water crossing before its permits expire.”

[SOURCE]

Civil Disobedience Often Leads To Jail. But Now, Protesters Can Explain Themselves

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Above Photo: Activists blockaded an oil train like this one in Minnesota. A judge will let the jury consider why they did it. Photograph: Tom Wallace/AP

By Tim DeChristopher, www.theguardian.com, Jan 14th, 2016

In a historic ruling, several environmental campaigners will be able to argue at criminal trial that their political motives are a defense to their illegal acts.

Note: The necessity defense is an old defense but it has been blocked in most courts in the US, essentially taking away the jury’s right to consider all the facts in the case. Good to see this breakthrough in Washington State. Last year we tried a necessity defense in Cove Point with activists arrested for trespass as part of a campaign to stop the building of a fracked gas export terminal but the judge immediately stopped us from proceeding. See Twenty Cove Point Activist Move Calvert County Court.

I first ran across the necessity defense in my work on medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients were able to use the defense in two states and the District of Columbia. People who were suffering severe and chronic illness were successful in their defense. The first case involved Robert Randall in Washington, DC — a key leader in the medical marijuana movement who had glaucoma and went on to become the first patient to legally get a prescription for marijuana. He won that when after his acquittal he sued the federal government in a civil case for denying him much needed medicine. The government settled the case and agreed to provide him marijuana. They tried to silence him as part of the settlement — we’ll give it to you but don’t tell anyone. Randall refused and he and his partner, Alice O’Leary-Randall, went on to lead the medical marijuana movement in the 70s and 80s.

In the face of governmental failure in addressing climate change, the climate movement has seen a dramatic increase of civil disobedience. The threat of jail is real to activists who use these tactics – as I learned first hand. But now activists now have a powerful form of defense: necessity.

For the very first time, US climate activists have been able to argue the necessity defense – which argues that so-called criminal acts were committed out of necessity – to a jury. The Delta 5, who blockaded an oil train at the Delta rail yard near Seattle in September of 2014, have been been allowed to use the defense in a historic climate change civil disobedience trial being heard this week. They said they acted to prevent the greater harm of climate change and oil train explosions.

Like all civil disobedience, this new wave of climate disobedience is an inherent critique of the moral authority of government. The necessity defense is an opportunity to elaborate that implicit critique into a fully developed legal argument for the responsibility of citizen action in the face of governmental failure.

In addition to gaining the permission to openly argue the necessity defense, the Delta 5 defendants have so far been winning the crucial legal maneuvers in the courtroom. The trial started with several motions from the prosecution to limit how the defense could present “sympathetic” evidence or anything related to their backgrounds. These motions were denied.

The judge has shown himself to be committed to a fully open trial of all the factors that would drive people to risk their bodies to stop fossil fuel expansion. This kind of openness is distressingly rare for civil disobedience cases in American courts. Why this particular judge, Anthony Howard, is breaking ranks in this climate trial is unknown, but I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that he is young enough that he will still be alive in 2050.

This willingness to weigh deep questions of justice in the courtroom is already paying off with a thought-provoking trial. The jury selection developed into an insightful conversation about civic engagement, protest and how to express one’s disagreement with the government.

This work of arousing consciences is an essential feature of good civil disobedience. Just by participating in the selection process, 60 potential jurors were pushed into a thoughtful discussion about the role of protest and challenging unjust power.

One of the critical dynamics that emerged in the jurors’ discussion on the first day was the difference between protest that uses force to intimidate compared to protest that uses one’s own vulnerability to awaken a community. The Delta 5 clearly fall into the latter category, but the prosecution used references to the Ku Klux Klan and abortion clinic bombers to suggest that the activists were relying on intimidation. This crucial dynamic will probably continue to be developed as the trial progresses.

But even as the state tries to paint the defendants as nefarious, the activists are establishing their moral advantage. The prosecution can tell by the media attention and standing-room-only crowd that these activists have power, but like most government officials, this prosecutor seems to only understand coercive power.

As he tries to put them in a box into which they don’t fit, the principled position of the activists demonstrates the potential of power rooted in love rather than force. The activists bring a vision of justice that shames the mere legalism of the state.

Around the globe climate movements are trying to build power. Some of those are trying to build power based on an old model from a dying empire. Here, in the trial of the Delta 5, the climate movement is building a new kind of power, grounded in interdependency and wielded through vulnerability. Our rapidly evolving and unstable world demands no less.

 

8 pipeline protesters plead guilty to trespassing, are fined $100 each

Attorney Tom Houghton, representing seven pipeline protesters, speaks at a press conference after eight protesters plead guilty to summary trespass.

Attorney Tom Houghton, representing seven pipeline protesters, speaks at a press conference after eight protesters plead guilty to summary trespass.

By AD CRABLE | LancasterOnline 

Eight protesters charged with defiant trespass for blocking a gas pipeline exploratory drilling crew on PPL property each pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser charge of summary trespass. Each was fined $100.

The guilty pleas followed the group’s rejection of an offer from PPL and Chris Sarno, an assistant district attorney, to drop the defiant trespassing charges in exchange for the protesters stating in writing they would not trespass on private PPL property again.

The eight refused, according to their attorney, Tom Houghton, and the protesters, flanked by about 20 supporters, said afterward they would continue civil disobedience to protect their communities from the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

The eight protesters, who call themselves the “Conestoga Land Protectors,” are Dr. Nancy Jeffries, Conestoga; Mark Clatterbuck, Martic Township; Nick Martin, Willow  Street; Daniele Spagnolo, Lancaster; Jono Droege, West Hempfield Township; Angela Nitchman, Lancaster; Ben Weiss, Lancaster; and Chief Carlos Whitewolf Rivera, Lancaster.

In the end, the defiant trespassing charges were dropped to summary trespass, and the protesters entered a district courtroom one by one to sign the guilty pleas. Two wore “No pipeline” buttons.

In addition to the fine of $100, each protester was ordered to pay court costs of $153.

The trespassing charges could have carried a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $300 fine for each protester.

Houghton, a Chester County attorney, made opposition to the pipeline a centerpiece of his failed campaign as a Democrat against incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts.

After the proceeding, the protesters and supporters vowed to “stand up as many times, and for as long as it takes, to stop this project,” said Jeffries, speaking for the protesters.

“Because our elected officials will not act to protect our community, homes and families, we instead are nonviolently acting to protect the places and people that we love. So, yes, we will continue to act in protection of our communities, alongside the scores of other Lancastrians who stand strongly opposed to this industrial invasion.”

The group then departed in a parade of cars to a Williams Partners office in the Greenfield Industrial Park. No one was apparently inside the office so the group left a message and a shoo-fly pie, meant to represent Lancaster County’s unique heritage and as a farewell present, said Nick Martin, one of the protesters.

The message said, in part, “We are here to inform you criminal charges will not deter us from protecting our county. Our communities reject your pipeline outright, with the totality of our collective will, and we will intervene at every step of the way to stop it from occurring.

“This is only the beginning. We will not let your pipeline ruin the fertile farmland that generations of Lancastrians have worked for a living.”

RELATED: Complete Lancaster County Pipeline Coverage

The eight protesters were among about 40 people who showed up on Jan. 5 to confront a crew drilling core samples for the pipeline that would cross 35 miles of Lancaster County.

The protesters have said the crew was digging near a state-registered Native American site and that the crew refused on request to verify that they had permission from PPL. The PPL property was posted with No Trespassing signs.

After a call to PPL, Southern Regional Police asked the protesters to leave. Eight refused to and linked arms in front of a drilling machine before being arrested without incident.

Following their arrest, the eight protesters were free on $1,000 unsecured bail.

A fund drive was created to pay the protesters’ legal fees. Houghton represented seven of the protesters for a reduced price.

PPL said previously that the utility did not know the eight would be arrested and later asked Southern Regional Police to drop the charges. A PPL spokesman said police advised PPL to make the request to District Judge Joshua Keller near Millersville at today’s hearing.

Eight gas  pipeline protesters hold a rally Thursday morning after they plead guilty to summary trespass for blocking a pipeline drilling crew near Safe Harbor in January.

Eight gas pipeline protesters hold a rally Thursday morning after they plead guilty to summary trespass for blocking a pipeline drilling crew near Safe Harbor in January.

With MLK Day Blockade, Seneca Lake Protesters Declare: ‘We Are Planting Our Flag’

During the 3.5-hour blockade, protesters turned away two Crestwood trucks before they were arrested. (Photo: We Are Seneca Lake)

During the 3.5-hour blockade, protesters turned away two Crestwood trucks before they were arrested. (Photo: We Are Seneca Lake)

By Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams

The number of people apprehended since campaign began now totals 200

“Clean Air and Clean Water are Civil Rights,” was the message as dozens of protesters, taking up the call for civil disobedience in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, continued their months-long blockade of a natural gas facility near the shores of Seneca Lake in upstate New York.Twenty people were arrested blocking the entrance to Texas-based energy company Crestwood Midstream on Monday, bringing the total number of arrests since the actionsbegan late October to 200 people.

The group is protesting plans to turn the region’s salt caverns into a storage facility for gases extracted during fracking operations. Despite strong local opposition and what the group says are “grave” geological and public health concerns, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved construction of the storage infrastructure on the west side of Seneca Lake.

With the Martin Luther King Jr. Day demonstration, the diverse group of protesters paid homage to the lessons learned from the civil rights movement.

“We believe, just as the civil rights marchers must have, that a small group of people taking a stand and showing determination and bravery can achieve something huge,” Sandra Steingraber, Ithaca College biologist and co-founder of the grassroots group We Are Seneca Lake, told Common Dreams.

Emboldened by New York’s recently announced fracking ban, the group intends to continue the demonstrations as long as Crestwood poses a threat to the health of the community and local environment. However, they see their fight as part of a larger war against an economy and infrastructure rooted in the exploitation of fossil fuels.

“Civil rights marchers didn’t try to desegregate every single lunch counter across the South,” Steingraber explains. “They planted their flag in one lunch counter and tried to make it a national story. We’re trying to do that here.”

This fossil fuel infrastructure project is one “among many,” she adds, “but this is where we are planting our flag.”

Among those who took part in Monday’s 3.5-hour long blockade or rallied in support of the blockaders were a 90-year-old woman, an 83-year-old polio survivor, and former Tompkins County legislator Pamela Mackesey, who marched with King as a teenager in 1963 and who was one of the 20 protesters charged with trespassing and released. The demonstrators are due to appear in court on February 18.

The coalition of concerned residents is seeking an injunction and rehearing on the risks posed by Crestwood’s plan and are calling on U.S. Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), as well as other officials, to intervene.

Seneca Lake, one of the deepest lakes in the nation, is the source of drinking water for 100,000 people. According to Steingraber, its unique geology moderates the temperatures in the area and allows the region’s $4.8 billion wine industry to flourish.

“This is a story about ordinary people standing up for a lake that turns water into wine, as well as being a source of drinking water and source of beauty,” said Steingraber.

Referencing a concept of King’s, Steingraber says that their “beloved community” is pitted against a Texas-based energy company that is “only interested in our holes in the ground” to be used as a “gas station for fracking.”

The below videos show demonstrators singing civil rights songs and the arrests during the MLK Day blockade.

Demonstrations Turn Violent: Greece’s Young Anarchists (Video)

VICE NEWS

The Cops Cracked Down on Greece’s Young Anarchists

Every year, between November 15 and 17, students, workers, and anarchists from all over Greece take over the Athens Polytechnic to commemorate the 1973 student uprising against the military junta that ruled the Mediterranean nation between the years 1967-1974.

The three-day celebration traditionally culminates in a mass protest that ends in Exarcheia, an artist neighborhood generally considered to be the spiritual home of the anarchist movement.

VICE News attended this year’s demonstration, in which protesters were met with an unprecedented level of police brutality. Greek riot police used tear gas, flash bangs, and batons against protesters till the early hours, in what appeared to be a complete crackdown on any form of civil disobedience.