Nine activists were arrested while students and supporters rallied downtown Monday morning in response to the 398 arrests made in Washington on Sunday for protesting against Obama’s Keystone XL Pipeline plan.
Members from XL Dissent West Coast and student activists from various universities including SF State, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Stanford gathered at the Ferry Building and marched to the State Department Building in an act of solidarity for the protestors arrested in the capital yesterday.
“I’m standing up in solidarity for all of my groups at SF State,” said Cain Buckler, a member of ASI, ECO Students, Real Food Challenge SFSU, Fossil Free SF and Students Sustainability Coalition. “I’m trying to stand up for a cause I believe in; it’s been really depressing watching how little our government figures have stood up for this issue.”
SF State student Cain Buckler, member of Fossil Free SF, chants with fellow demonstrators at the State Department building in downtown San Francisco during a protest held against the possible Keystone XL Pipeline Monday, March 3. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress
According to TransCanada, the Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed 1,179-mile, 36-diameter crude oil pipeline beginning in Hardisty, Alberta, and extending south to Steele City, Nebraska. The pipeline extension would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast daily.
“The tar sands are poisoning the traditional territory, the land, air, water and cultures of the indigenous people of northern Alberta, Canada,” said Sophie Harrison, a member of the Fossil Free Stanford Campaign and originally from Vancouver, Canada. “The Keystone XL Pipeline feeds toxic tar sand expansion and further puts at risk farmers and community members along the whole pipeline route.”
On the TransCanada project webpage, they believe that the Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced pipeline operation in North America. It will not only bring essential infrastructure to North American oil producers, but it will also provide jobs, long-term energy independence and an economic boost to Americans.
More than 500 protestors marched to the White House in Washington, D.C. Sunday, to demand President Obama stop the construction of the pipeline. Nearly 400 students were arrested after they zip-tied themselves to the White House fence.
“The protest in D.C. was unquestionably one of the most powerful, moving things I have seen in years,” said Harrison. “Because I realized in that moment, I was seeing more bravery from those incredible young people than I have seen from most American political leaders ever.”
Demonstrators link arms and occupy the State Department building in downtown San Francisco during a protest held against the possible Keystone XL Pipeline Monday, March 3. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress
By the time the crowd of about 100, marched to the doors of the State Department Building, nine activists maneuvered their way inside the building where they linked arms and sat side-by-side in protest. Police stood in defense outside the side of the glass doors, barring the rest of the crowd who chanted in unison with the soon-to-be arrested activists inside.
Despite the size difference between San Francisco’s and Washington’s demonstrations, both maintained the same objective of gaining a more unified front and louder voice against these “unsustainable industries,” according to Elliot Hughes, a member of Industrial Workers of the World, an anti-capitalist union.
“The march went in a different direction than we thought, but it’s really exciting to have all these students from different schools like Stanford, Berkeley and UC Davis out here together,” said Haley Broder, the student government director of sustainability at UC Berkeley.
Once the arrested students were processed and removed from the area, the remaining protestors marched back to the Ferry Building to continue chanting before they all dispersed.
Valerie Love leads a march on Market Street in downtown San Francisco to the State Department building where other demonstrators occupied the lobby and risked arrest Monday, March 1. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress