A group of resolute activists with Tar Sands Blockade in Texas continues a third day of direct action on Wednesday in their fight to stop TransCanada's tar sands pipeline despite what the groups refers to as "torture tactics" by local police.
The 9 activists, who are in a tree platform 80 feet high near Winnsboro, Texas, are watching now as tree cutting machinery is approximately 500 feet away, tearing a path through the forest for the tar sands pipeline, the Keystone XL.
“I’m here to defend this land from a multinational corporation who has blatant disregard for the safety of peaceful people, families, and our planet," said Justin Jacobs, who continues his third day as part of the tree blockade.
On Tuesday, two other "blockaders" had chained themselves to TransCanada's machinery in an attempt to stop 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."
The group reports that after the two were arrested, the Sheriffs Department Lieutenant told the TransCanada supervisor, “If this happens again, we’ll just skip to using pepper spray and tasing in the first 10 minutes.”
“TransCanada has frequently claimed its interest in protecting the safety of workers and protesters but now we can see that’s all a lie,” said Ron Seifert a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade. “Now that they have actively encouraged the torture of peaceful protestors its clear that this multinational corporation assigns no value to the basic humanity that all Texans and people everywhere deserve.”
Rather than back down after the police treatment, the 8 "tree blockaders" were joined by a ninth.
They have vowed to remain as long as it takes to stop the pipeline.
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