More than 100 protesters met at TransCanada’s offices in Westborough, Mass. last week to rally against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline—designed to transport tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. The protest, held in mock funeral fashion, led to 25 arrests, three of which involved Tufts students.
Dressed in all back, the group approached TransCanada carrying a coffin inscribed with the words “Our Future,” meant to symbolize the irreversible climate change future generations will be subjected to if the pipeline is built. A clergy member delivered a eulogy at the faux funeral service, emphasizing the importance of caring for the Earth.
Protesters handcuffed themselves together outside TransCanada’s office doors. Roughly 25 minutes later, however, police officers showed up and those who refused to leave the site were taken out of their handcuffs and later re-cuffed to be taken in to the station, according to The Tufts Daily.
Tufts freshman William Pearl described the cops as “relaxed,” largely because “they knew it was a peaceful protest.” Bail was $40 per person, and provided by Massachusetts Tar Sands Blockade, the organizers of the protest. Prior to last week’s rally, the organization raised money through “Funeral for our Future” to cover costs.
The 25 arrested were arraigned in court on Wednesday morning. All fines were waived and, because of that, the money will be donated to the Tar Sands Blockade.
“The point of our action was to send a clear message to TransCanada that approving and building the Keystone Pipeline would lead us further down the path of irreversible climate change,” said sophomore Dan Jubelirer to The Tufts Daily. Jubelirer was arrested alongside Pearl and junior Anna Lello-Smith.
This isn’t the first time local students have protested the pipeline, however. In January, a group of eight area college students staged a sit-in at the same TransCanada office. They used locks, chains and superglue to band themselves together “in an act of nonviolent disobedience” before police appeared.
At the time, Tufts sophomore Emily Edgerly, who was later arrested with junior Devyn Powell, had argued:
The scientific and economic arguments against the Keystone XL pipeline are clear. The International Energy Agency reported in 2011 that constructing new fossil fuel infrastructure is locking us into irreversible global warming, which will have devastating impacts on our economy and our lives. We urgently need to be putting our society’s resources into building infrastructure that supports safe and renewable energy sources. We hope our peaceful civil disobedience today will add momentum to the increasingly powerful global movement to solve the climate crisis.
To learn more about the group of students who initially protested, you can read their biographies from the “Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline” website below.
Featured Photos Courtesy of Funeral For Our Future