USA: Thousands march, about 100 arrested protesting mountaintop removal mining
On the 27th of September, thousands of opponents of mountaintop removal coal mining converged on DC. Many were from West Virgina, Tennesee, and other areas devastated by this destructive mining practice. After blockading the EPA and PNC Bank, about 100 were arrested at the White House.
Photos: Rally, White House Sit In, PNC Bank Sit In |
Video: Appalachia Rising in DC | Audio: Speaker at Appalachia Rising rally at Freedom Plaza
Earlier in the morning, activists from DC Rising Tide and several from the Kentucky coalfields invaded an office of the US Army Corps of Engineers which must grant permits for MTR mining to take place. Two coalfield residents suceeded in gaining an audience with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers, though nine activsts were eventually removed by force, though without being arrested.
The later arrests were at the White House, requiring a bus, a wagon, and a van to transport the arrestees. Two of the arrests were of support people who had to enter the arrest area to distribute water or pick up arrestee's property, drawing a furious yet not violent reaction from the crowd.
Mass arrests of civil disobediance protests at the White House are not uncommon, but mass arrests of this many people are rare, and mass arrests of coalfield residents protesting the destruction of their communities at the White House are unheard of until now.
At one point, Obama was reported to be outside on his porch, watching, drawing chants of "You can do it!" from the crowd. Protesters want the EPA and the President to put a total halt to the issuance of valley fill permits and other permits without which destructive, water-poisoning mountaintop removl mining cannot proceed.
Even if Obama is replaced with say, Sarah Palin in two years, a moratorium on MTR mining lasting until Jan 21, 2013 would create enough "political risk" that bankers and investors would want nothing to do with such mines, fearing a second moratorium if Palin, Newt et all could not hold the White House forever. This could prevent any new MTR mines far beyond Obama's term in office by cutting off access to credit.
Original Source: Luke, DC Indymedia: Thousands march, about 100 arrested protesting mountaintop removal mining - Creative Commons licensed - article in the public domain