One day after thousands marched on the White House to protest the expansion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, activists on the front lines in Texas faced pepper spray and arrests Monday as they blocked pipeline construction.
According to nonviolent coalition Tar Sands Blockade, officers from the Cherokee County Sheriff's office are attempting to remove three tree sitters who formed a new blockade along the Angelina River by "suspending themselves from 50 foot pine trees with life lines anchored to heavy machinery, effectively blocking the entirety of Keystone XL’s path."
The officers attempted to extract the protestors with a cherry picker when about a dozen ground supporters linked arms in front of the machine. The report continues:
The driver from the cherry picker refused to stop until they hit one of the supporters with the vehicle. In an effort to disperse the crowd, police began indiscriminately spraying people in the face with pepper spray, including a 21 year old woman from Nacogdoches and a 75 year old woman with a heart condition.
This incident was one of many confrontations during the Tar Sands Blockade's Day of Action.
At another site Monday morning, police arrested and pepper sprayed blockaders who locked themselves to heavy machinery used for construction of the pipeline route. Despite the violence, the protest was successful in shutting down construction temporarily.
Tar Sands Blockade is providing live updates on their website, which is reporting a total of nine arrests so far today.