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Tar Sands Company Intensifies Fight Against 'Blockaders'

As Tar Sands Blockade activists continue 8th day of direct action, TransCanada threatens protesters' safety

- Common Dreams staff

Activists with Tar Sands Blockade are continuing their 8th day of direct action in an attempt to stop TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, and are now watching as the company's clear-cutting machinery threatens their safety.

photo: Tar Sands Blockade The group of 9 is in a tree platform, 80 feet above ground, to stop TransCanada from clear cutting an area near Winnsboro, Texas to make way for the pipeline.

The group reports this afternoon that a machine operator has swung a felled tree at the safety ropes, causing the platform to shake and risking their safety.

In a separate protest a few miles away also targeting tar sands, Alejandro de la Torre of Houston has locked his arm into a buried concrete capsule in the path of TransCanada tree cutting equipment.

"I’m willing to risk arrest today to stop this tar sands pipeline because I have the privilege to help protect the safety of those most affected. Keystone XL endangers the health and safety of everyone from the landowners and their families now threatened by cancer causing leaks, to the refinery communities in Houston that have to breathe the dirty air, as well as people of color around the world who are disproportionately affected by climate change," said de la Torre.

Last week, two activists chained themselves to TransCanada's machinery in an attempt to further thwart the tar sands work. When police officers arrived, Tar Sands Blockade says the officers used "torture tactics" against them including "sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of Tasers, all while blockaders were in handcuffs."

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