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"I Voted For Change": Over 20 Arrested as KXL Protests Target Obama

Demonstrators blockade Chicago State Department to launch new anti-Keystone civil disobedience campaign

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Over 20 anti-Keystone protesters were arrested Monday morning for blockading the doors to a Chicago federal building as part of newly launched call to action that declares "if you don't act, I will."

22 protesters were arrested Monday morning in Chicago for blockading the city's Metcalfe Federal Building. It was the first demonstration in a series of civil disobedience actions organized by the group NoKXL.org. (Photo: @whitjones via Twitter) The demonstration was the first action organized by the group No KXL who are launching a civil disobedience campaign aimed directly at President Obama and his pending decision to permit construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline—a deal that former NASA scientist James Hansen declared would spell 'game over' for the planet.

A total of 22 protesters were arrested Monday in front of Chicago's Metcalfe Federal Building including political director for political action group CREDO mobile, Becky Bond, as well as a number of former Obama For America campaign staff. 

The demonstrators sat cross-legged in front of the building entrance holding signs that read, "President Obama, I oppose the KXL pipeline because Game Over is not the change I hoped for," and "President Obama, I oppose the KXL pipeline because I voted for change."

According to the NOKXL website, over 60,000 activists have pledged to participate in similar actions intended to pressure Obama into blocking the pipeline.

"If tens of thousands of people stand up as President Obama mulls his final decision, and commit to participate in civil disobedience if necessary, we can convince the White House that it will be politically unfeasible to go forward," says the pledge, which was written by representatives from a spectrum of anti-Keystone groups including Bold Nebraska, CREDO Action, The Other 98%, the Hip Hop Caucus, the Rainforest Action Network, 350.org and Oil Change International.

The pledge continues:

Here's exactly what we have in mind: The State Department is now considering the more than one million comments on its sham assessment opposing Keystone XL - including a very critical comment from the EPA. While we wait for the Administration to finalize its environmental assessment we will petition, rally, make phone calls, and comment through official channels. But that may not be enough.

The release of the final SEIS will start a 90 day National Interest Determination, which we expect to finish sometime in the fall. That is the moment of truth. If the Obama administration issues a Draft National Interest Determination finding that Keystone XL is in our national interest, that will trigger action on our pledge to resist.

“The people who knocked on doors, donated to his campaign and helped put him in the White House are watching to see if President Obama will side with a foreign oil company or keep his promise and take real action to fight climate change, starting with rejecting Keystone XL,” said Bond in a conference call last week.

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