For Immediate Release
#YouShellNotPass Blockades Shut Down Terminal 5
SEATTLE, WA - Where: Harbor Island Fishing Dock (Spokane Street over the East Channel of the Duwamish River)
When: Monday, May 18, 7am
More Information: https://www.facebook.com/events/882064961859930/
Hundreds of people plan to blockade the gates to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle, stopping work on Shell’s Arctic Drilling rig Polar Pioneer. Some have chained themselves together or locked themselves to heavy objects while hundreds will hold a mass sit-in.
“Everyone is out here today, we have scientists, teachers and city councilmembers risking arrest because they understand the severity of this moment,” said Sarra Tekola a student with Divest University of Washington who recently won a vote to divest their school’s endowment from Coal. “Climate change isn't a polar bear issue it's a human rights issue, climate change displaces people from their countries, 40 years ago desertification kicked my father out of his country in Ethiopia and it's going to get worse. This is our lunch counter to sit on, this is our history to be made, we hold the world in our hands.”
A loose network of several dozen groups calling themselves the sHell No! Action Council (SNAC) organized today’s action. SNAC has focused their opposition to Arctic Drilling on the impacts of Global Warming on the impacts on peoples in the Global South and indigenous communities.
"For the past few years, the Philippines has ranked highly as a country most vulnerable to climate change. My heart fills with dread every time I hear another news report on an extreme weather event in the Philippines, where my family still lives" says Bayan PNW Coordinator Katrina Pestaño. "As the U.S. consumes 20% of the world's energy resources, we Filipino Americans believe it is our duty to organize for more renewable energy sources and against activities that would extract fossil fuels from the earth," added Katrina. "Islands like the Philippines continue to disproportionately face the brunt of disaster brought on by global climate change."
City Councilmember Kshama Sawant joined hundreds of Seattlites prepared to risk arrest in today’s action. While the majority of participants were local, some travelled from as far as the east coast and the gulf south.
“Just last week I was at a rally in front of a polluting Shell asphalt refinery in Saint Rose, Louisiana. Neighbors there are sick from Shell’s pollution. Shell cannot safely operate the facilities it already has. There’s no way this company should be allowed to drill in the Arctic,” said Anne Rolfes, a New Orleans resident participating in today’s action.
Others traveled from Alaska to show their opposition to Shell’s plans, including a number of Alaskan Native activists.
“I’m here as an Inupiaq person to support and stand with the activists and kayaktivists in the effort to keep the Arctic Ocean free of drilling for oil. Quyanaqpak for helping protect our way of life,” said Allison Warden, who travelled to Seattle from the Arctic for this weekend’s events.
Part of the group locked down are the Seattle Raging Grannies. "My generation is responsible for the way things are and we owe it to our children and grandchildren to stand up to make a change and protect their future" said Annette Clapstein.
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Zarna Joshi dressed in a sari and holding a sign that says Vande Mataram, I bow to my mother, said. "I will not allow the future of our planet, my mother, to be destroyed by this greedy, short sighted, capitalist system that is utterly failing the people." She says she wants to invite her Indian brothers and sisters to join in this fight for our future.
Organizers with the sHell No! Action Council say the process they used to organize their protests was just as important as the outcomes. The council called mass meetings and used a spokescouncil modeled off the planning for the 1999 WTO protests. Over 200 people participated in democratic planning for today’s actions.
"Today we’re not just shutting down Shell, we’re challenging corporate capitalism, imperialism and colonialism with a vision of people power and true mass democracy,” said Ahmed Gaya an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle, one of the groups participating in the sHell No! Action Council.
Katrina Pestano, Bayan PNW Coordinator – 206-403-0349
Joaquin Uy, Bayan PNW – 206-427-2999
Sarra Tekola, Divest University of Washington (UW) – 206-718-7347
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade – 504-452-4909
Jill Mangaliman, Got Green Executive Director - firstname.lastname@example.org
JM Wong, Parisol - email@example.com
Ahmed Gaya – Rising Tide Seattle, 773-960-2587
Emily Johnston – 350 Seattle, 206-407-5003
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The sHell No! Action Council is a network of artists, activists and noisemakers battling Shell in Seattle.