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‘Free Tim, Free Tim!’: Climate Justice Activist Faces Trial in Salt Lake City

by Derek P. Jensen

Hundreds of protesters marched Monday morning from Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park to Exchange Place across the street from a federal courthouse, where, later in the afternoon, environmental folk hero Tim DeChristopher will stand trial on two felonies for monkey-wrenching an oil and gas lease auction.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Several hundred people marched from Pioneer Park to federal court in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 28 in support of Tim DeChristopher and his upcoming trial. DeChristopher is accused of winning bids on more than a dozen drilling parcels in Utah with no intention of paying the $1.8 million tab. He said he disrupted the auction to help thwart the global climate crisis. The crowd included actor-activist Daryl Hannah, who arrived in Utah over the weekend to show her support for DeChristopher.

“This is the coolest protest I’ve ever been at,” Hannah said, “because I’ve never seen so many people smiling.”

Hannah then urged the crowd to continue the fight.

“Big love, everybody,” she said to cheers. “Let’s keep it going. Let’s keep Tim out of jail.”

The peaceful demonstrators — many carrying “Bidder No. 70” placards to mark the paddle number DeChristopher used at the Dec. 19, 2008, auction — erupted into chants of “Free Tim, Free Tim” after Hannah spoke.

At one point, DeChristopher emerged from the federal courthouse with his three attorneys and more cheers broke out.

DeChristopher, 29, is accused of winning bids on more than a dozen drilling parcels near Arches and Canyonlands national parks with no intention of paying the $1.8 million tab.

He said he disrupted the auction to help thwart the global climate crisis.

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