McKenna, Long and Ostridge on K st is the main law firm representing Transcanada, the builder of the Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline. On the 5th of November, a march of about 50 protesters from Chesapeake Earth First and Occupy DC stormed their building. Four were arrested when they staged a sit-in and refused to leave.
This protest was in solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas, on the 43 day of the blockade. It was in solidarity with the Lakota people defending their lands from Keystone XL pipeline itself, and with all Native people resisting the tar sands mining in Alberta, Canada, It was also in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street folks bottom-lining Hurricane Sandy relief in NY, and the people who were hit by this climate-change driven storm.
The entire building targetted by the protest bears McKenna, Long and Ostridge’s name, and they have an office on the first floor, accessable from the lobby. The civil disobediance blockade was across that locked doorway inside the building.
Originally protesters controlled the doors from the inside as a precaution against anyone being trapped if security locked the doors. The cops were very slow to arrive,
When cops had pushed enough protesters out of the building to get control of the doors, security locked them from the inside, violating DC fire codes. In a real emergency these doors will yield to being body-slammed from the inside if they work the same way as the doors at Bechtel, but that’s still a fire code violation.
When more cops showed up to arrest the 4 people sitting down(and escort out the two standing behing them with the banner), protesters set an secondary, arm-locked blockade across the front doors to delay the police.
In the end, 4 people were arrested, and a loud message was sent to McKenna, Long and Ostridge that those who represent the builders of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline risk receiving the same treatment that TransCanada themselves does. It’s like doing business with Huntingdon Life Sciences, only worse.
Already the Alberta tar sands mining project is killing Indigenous people, especially children, by poisoning the water they drink. Already Lakota people are being killed by being driven off the road by overloaded trucks crossing Pine Ridge. Already children living near the mine sites are being poisoned and some are dying, Already Transcanada is using eminent domain in Texas to force farmers out of the way of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Already we are being hit by climate-driven superstorms, with Katrina and Sandy only 7 years apart, plus that furious “derecho” storm this summer. If all 4 segments of this project are ever finished, the killing of the Lakota and other Indigenous people will accelerate, and the climate will get worse fast. Since the pipeline has been called ‘the fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet,” it is doubtful the rest of us would outlast the Lakota by very long.