Fracking/gas export protesters block N Cap st with Tripod near FERC

On the 26th of May, protesters from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) returned to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), blocking all known doorways with banners and seeking to shut down this rubber stamp of the fracked gas industry. Everywhere there were calls for reinforcements but none to send-because activsts had quietly slipped away to set up a tripod in the middle of N Capitol St. The resulting road closures and traffic jams effectively barricaded the whole area around FERC.

Just before the tripod, activists had closed 1st St NE and by appearances were going for a re-run of the tactics used during the week-long November 2014 siege of FERC. Everyone was stretched thin, and blockades leaked FERC bureaucrats. The FERC staffers still did not have an easy time, in once case having to go through the garden to run the gauntlet of protesters with maybe 18 inches to spare. Soon that was sealed off, but other holes opened. Calls went out to send help but none could be sent. Meanwhile, the FERC staffers were arriving on foot. The cops had pre-emptively closed off the garage that was the subject of the lockbox blockade in November 2014, so no need to focus there-and no need for staffers to use 1st st NE. They could just as easily reach FERC from N Capitol St, where the cops had empty arrest wagons waiting.

While police watched the leaky door blockades, the main action was prepared. The door blockades had only been thinned to allow setting up something bigger. This was a tripod blocking the northbound lanes of N Capitol street, with not a cop in sight.Once this was set up the door blockades were withdrawn. Both the protesters and the cops now descended on the tripod area-and the cops closed both sides of N Capitol Street even though the tripod only occupied the northbound lanes. Unable to reach the tripod sitter, the cops had to negotiate to allow the sitter to climb down at the end of morning rush hour without being arrested. In fact I did not see any arrests at all. Meanwhile, anyone trying to get to FERC found themselves in-CAR-cerated in traffic for rubberstamping every fracking, gas pipeline, and gas export project to cross their desk.

Breaking: as of 5PM 5-26, tents have been set up in the park behind FERC. Like the siege armies of old, those standing against FERC’s rubber stamp machine are now encamped there 24-7 and have with action declared an occupation. Due to two prior week long mobilizations there (July 2014 and November 2014) this can now be called the Third Siege of FERC.

Video of the tripod sit and surrounding context

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