Spearheaded by the activist group 350.org, protesters from around the world focused on disrupting key energy hubs from May 3 to 15 to inhibit the flow and transport of fossil fuel energy. In Washington state, protesters tried to shut down the transport of fossil fuels by barricading the railroad tracks at two refineries in the Anacortes area over the weekend. At one point, the activists totaled 150 people, but after authorities asked them to move along and protest in a designated area, 52 held firm and refused to budge.
Many had pitched tents and sleeping bags on the the tracks and were asked to leave early this morning. At least 80 percent left with their belongings and cleared out, a railway spokesman said. Others were arrested for trespassing and one was locked up for resisting arrest. Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt told reporters that prior to anyone getting arrested, his officers told the protesters they could move to a designated area and continue demonstrating.
Fully one-third of the protesters found that idea unacceptable and refused to leave, even after being warned they would be arrested. The protests, said Emily Johnston, a spokeswoman for the activists, would continue near the tracks, and said the success of protests like this one actually inspire people to speak out about global warming.
Johnston expected those who were arrested to be released from police after being processed. She also found it ironic that her activists were being arrested while no one is holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for global warming, a common theme gathering support among some government officials and certain Democratic attorneys general.
Since the protests began on Friday, the rails had been closed on those two tracks and rerouted using different lines. Many of these protests were fomented by the activist group 350.org, who have been actively trying to persuade college campuses to divest from fossil fuels and force industry groups to keep its products in the ground.
The website 350.org is touting that from May 3 to 15, thousands of people protested against our “addiction” to fossil fuels. They call it an unwavering resistance in the face of the world’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels, despite the fact that the use of oil, coal, and natural gas has raised the standard of living in countries that utilize this energy source.
They even have areas on their website devoted on garnering media attention, with a how-to guide for getting in the news using their tips and tricks. This Washington protest was part of a larger 350.org campaign that stretched across numerous continents where “people tried new things, pushing the boundaries of what movements had done before.”
They even write that “coal, oil and gas companies are in a financial crisis” as the planet cooks, and that there has never been a “better time than now to break free from fossil fuels. A global resistance is growing to confront the industry wherever they turn,” 350.org says, as indicated in the coordinated efforts between climate activists and Democratic AGs to charge oil and gas companies under the RICO statute.