More than 300 anti-Keystone XL protesters were arrested Sunday afternoon outside the White House in the latest push by environmentalists to convince the Obama administration to reject the Canadian oil pipeline.
The student-led protest, organized by XL Dissent, started with a rally at Georgetown University. The students marched from there to the White House — with a stop at Secretary of State John Kerry’s house along the way.
Students from 80 colleges participated in Sunday’s event, and another protest will be held on Monday in San Francisco, said Aly Johnson-Kurts, a freshman at Smith College and one of the organizers of the event.
Activists at Lafayette Square Park unfurled a black tarp and about 50 people laid down on the sidewalk creating a “human oil spill.”
From the side, volunteers threw plastic lobsters, fish and birds — all painted black — amid the spill. One person held a sign as he lay on the pavement: “The oil is still here and so are we.”
Officers blockaded the scene, moving spectators to the park sidewalk as first horses, and then vans moved in front of the protesters.
For many of the students, this was their first time being arrested. Others said they just wanted to be a part of the rally to show solidarity and to make their voices heard.
“We get stuck in our worlds at school and we need to start being really people on the weekends and doing things you care about,” said Julie Xia, a student at Amherst College. “We talk about living lives of consequence at school. We have to try to do it.”
But did they think President Barack Obama would heed the messages being yelled at him from the streets below?
“I’m not that confident,” said Miranda Willson, a Tufts freshman, citing the criticism that Obama would receive for denying the project amid continuing economic concerns.
“But we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have hope,” Ilana Hamer, another Tufts freshman chimed in. “So hopefully, it makes an impact.”
Hundreds arrested in Keystone pipeline protests outside White House
Police arrested nearly 400 student-led demonstrators who marched to the White House on Sunday to protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Marching under the name XL Dissent, at least 500 students from across the United States demonstrated and carried out acts of civil disobedience outside of the White House.
Hundreds Arrested! Largest Act of Youth Civil Disobedience In a Generation Unfolds at White House!