Roughly 400 protestors were arrested in front of the White House yesterday. The protestors, many of whom were college students, were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline project. The pipeline needs President Barack Obama’s signature in order to be built.
Many protestors tied themselves to the White House fence using plastic ties, while others portrayed a “human oil spill” by laying out on a black tarp on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Many expect Obama to give a green light to the pipeline’s construction. This has caused a feeling of betrayal among one of Obama’s major voting blocs, especially given the numerous anti-oil statements Obama has made in the past.
"[This is] a youth-organized action to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone Pipeline," protestor Nick Stracco said. "Because the youth vote was a crucial part in both of his elections, we know that we elected him and we voted for a climate champion, not another pipeline president."
The $5.3 billion project would transport tar sands from Alberta, Canada, all the way down to the Gulf Coast of the United States, making stops in states along the way. Proponents of the pipeline say it will increase America’s energy independence and provide thousands of jobs during its construction. Opponents, like the ones outside the White House yesterday, say the pipeline is an environmental disaster.
Protestors marched yesterday from Georgetown University to the White House. Soon after arriving at the President’s digs, the group was met by U.S. Park Police. Police set up tents near the White House and began arresting protestors by the hundreds.
The organizers estimate that around 1,000 people showed up to yesterday’s protest. Almost 400 of them were arrested. Most demonstrators knew they could be arrested for their protest but went through with it anyways.
“The youth really understand the traditional methods of creating change are not sufficient … so we needed to escalate,” protestor Aly Johnson Kurts said.
As fate would have it, Kurts was arrested minutes after uttering these words.