On the 27th of May, five activists were arrested while blocking access to FERC on the 4th day of actions by Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE). They stood their ground when the Federal Protective Services/Homeland Security cops gave the “three warnings” and were arrested after a blockade lasting nearly an hour. Afterwards protesters held a silent vigil lasting until Noon in front of FERC’s headquarters. BXE is demanding that FERC stop acting as the gas industry’s rubber stamp for seemingly every gas/fracking infrastructure permit to cross their desks.
In this round, protesters encircled FERC more closely than in previous days of Round III of daily FERC protests. The focus was on blockades of all three doors by which FERC staffers could enter. Police themselves closed FEFC’s garage, no doubt not wanting a repeat of the November 2014 hard blockade with steel-reinforced lockboxes. As a result, all of FERC’s rubber stamp brigade was forced to either take Metro or pay between $16 and $22 to park all day in a private garage. Denying usage of FERC’s garage for six days of protest thus costs each operator or FERC’s rubber stamps an estimated $120 unless they are willing to leave the car behind and ride Metro or use a bike. Those who normally use the garage already own cars, so using Metro in rush hour also costs considerably more. When police cleared the back door blockade (resulting in 5 arrests), a backlog of FERC staffers surged down 1st St NE to enter the building by the newly opened route
May 27 was the first time this daily siege of protests has led to an arrest. BXE has used a force-sparing strategy where activists risk arrest but rarely seek it out. Even the Tuesday, May 26 tripod sit did not lead to arrests, though that may have been because negotiation is the easiest way for cops to deal with a tripod. BXE’s overall strategy has been brillient, featuring diversions, unexpected “surprises,” force multipliers such as long blockade banners and the tripod, and preservation of forces to return on following days,
There were arrests-unexpected ones-two weeks earlier at FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) when anti-fracking/gas export protesters sought to attend a supposedly open meeting. Since then there were no further arrests of gas fracking/pipeline/export protesters at FERC or elsewhere in DC until today.
This blockade at FERC’s backdoor turned away their staff for nearly an hour before 5 activists were arrested
The hardest part was getting a tight seal between the end of each blockade line and the building or other obstacles
Blockade at FERC’s garage entrance. This is where staffers who chose to run the gauntlet were able to get in
Part of the long banner blocking FERC’s front door