Nearly 400 peaceful protesters were arrested outside the White House on Sunday for opposing the development of the controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline in what was the largest youth civil disobedience outside the White House in a generation.
The participators, who rolled out a mock oil spill, were mostly college students. Many were taken into custody after engaging in the age-old protest method of chaining themselves to the White House fence.
If the proposal goes ahead it would see a 2,000km crude oil pipeline run from Alberta, Canada, right through to Texas. The protest comes days after the State Department's Inspector General found that there was absolutely no conflict of interest whatsoever in that the fact that the contractor hired to write the report on the environmental impact of the pipeline also worked for major oil companies involved in its construction. Impartial, right?
Dazed spoke to Adam Greenberg, a protestor who was arrested at the White House. "We were arrested in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience," Greenberg said. "Those of us who were arrested went outside of the permit zone, either tying our wrists to the White House fence or staging a human oil-spill right in front of that. The atmosphere between the police and the protesters was very respectful. We've been in communication with police for months now. Both parties knew exactly what the other would do.
"We voted for a leader who would lead on climate change. We elected, not once but twice, a man and an administration who promised to act on climate, to protect future generations. Youth were the pivotal vote in both elections and we did not vote for Keystone XL. This is about more than Obama's legacy; this is about our lives."
Over 400,000 names have now signed the online petition to prevent the development of the tar sands pipeline, which poses significant environmental risks to wildlife, waterways, soil and air quality. If Obama opts to proceed regardless, he faces a significant backlash from America's youth.
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