More Arrests at Keystone XL Tar Sands Sit-in are “Lighting a Fire”

This morning, while 50 of their friends faced another day in jail, 45 more Americans were arrested as part of an ongoing sit-in at the White House this morning.The DC Park Police have been telling organizers of the sit-in that they were keeping the first wave of demonstrators in jail in order to deter people from taking part in the civil disobedience. In fact, the arrests have had just the opposite affect.

“Saturday’s arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was arrested Saturday. “More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join. On Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They’ll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading.”

Tidwell was released from jail Saturday evening along with 9-12 DC residents. Amongst those still being held at Central Cell Block was writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the protests.

McKibben sent a message from jail saying, “The only thing we need is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need your company.”

He got his wish this morning as another 45 people were taken away by DC Park Police. Another 50-100 people will be taking part in a civil disobedience training this evening at a DC church in preparation for Monday’s sit-ins. Amongst those preparing for arrest are a group of Nebraska farmers and a ranchers who have been working to resist the proposed pipeline back in their home state.

“Nebraskans are counting on President Obama to do the right thing,” said Jane Kleeb, Director of Bold Nebraska, who will be risking arrest on Monday. “Back home we are fighting to protect our land and water. We decided to bring that fight to the President’s doorstep because our families’ legacies, those that homesteaded the very land now threatened by a foreign oil company, are too important for us sit on the sidelines. We are acting on our values and expect our President to act as well.”

Earlier this summer, a young man named Tim DeChristopher was sentenced for two years in jail for disrupting the sale of federal land for oil and gas drilling. He and his allies in Utah spoke of the need for “joy and resolve,” both in the face of  the climate crisis and in specific situations like civil disobedience.

Both joy and resolve are in good supply here in Washington, DC, along with an unbending determination to continue the Tar Sands sit-in over the days to come.

19 Responses to “More Arrests at Keystone XL Tar Sands Sit-in are “Lighting a Fire””

  1. 1 Will Bates Aug 21st, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Joy and resolve!

    Does anyone know the names of the two young women in that photo so I can caption their photo correctly?

  2. 2 Milan Aug 21st, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Are you going to be at the training session tonight? I am curious about how many people there will be for tomorrow.

  3. 3 jamiehenn Aug 21st, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    We’re looking at a big crowd tonight, I think. More updates from @tarsandsaction

  4. 4 Cheryl Sorrels Aug 21st, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Jamie, thank you so much for your passion, and the way you present it. My thoughts and prayers and all my internet/email will use your information, even here in bf Arkansas. The unveiling of the Martin Luther King statue may (I pray) add to your numbers! Peace and appreciate, Cheryl Sorrels

  5. 5 stan Aug 21st, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    It’s a DEMOCRACY. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 6 Cheryl Aug 21st, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I have one thing to say, as a Canadian – a reliance on Tar Sands oil does not remove Americans from a reliance on foreign oil. I know Americans talk about Canadian oil as if it is domestic to them but it isn’t. And frankly it disturbs me. Canadian oil is not automatically also an oil supply for the United States. And perhaps the US needs to think further about an increase in their oil supply from yet another foreign supplier. I think one of the strong points that could be made against the Tar Sands pipeline is that indeed, it increases American use of a foreign supplier.

  7. 7 DC Police Aug 21st, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    That’s US Park Police, they’re federal and have nothing to do with DC Metropolitan Police.

  8. 8 Christine Aug 21st, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    As a Canadian, I’m appalled by the short-sighted policy of our federal and Alberta governments on the tar sands and on addressing climate change. Thank you, Bill and each one of you who is sitting in front of the White House so that my children have a chance at experiencing a stable climate.

  9. 9 Mary Morrow Aug 22nd, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you wonderful people for all you are doing. I hope Tar Sands Pipeline protest will be a mindful example of democracy in action. It is dreadful that some people want to do something so dreadful to so many others without any regard for what affect it will have on them or the environment. It all turns out to be based on greed. I live in Oklahoma and the pipeline is scheduled to go right near where I live. No. No. No. No.

  10. 10 Nancy Aug 25th, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I wish I was there! Hold down the fort!

  1. 1 Tar Sands Pipeline Protests Continue (PHOTOS) Trackback on Aug 21st, 2011 at 6:08 pm
  2. 2 PHOTOS: Pipeline Protest Leader ‘Needs Your Company’ In Jail, More Arrested | Eco News Bits Trackback on Aug 21st, 2011 at 6:08 pm
  3. 3 PHOTOS: Pipeline Protest Leader ‘Needs Your Company’ In Jail, More Arrested | PUII - News Blog Trackback on Aug 21st, 2011 at 6:32 pm
  4. 4 Tar Sands Pipeline Protests Continue (PHOTOS) | Kiss America Trackback on Aug 21st, 2011 at 7:25 pm
  5. 5 Creative Protest Spreads, with Actions Against Dole and Chiquita « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Aug 21st, 2011 at 9:57 pm
  6. 6 Tar Sand Protesters arrested | Geogr@phy Trackback on Aug 22nd, 2011 at 7:59 am
  7. 7 links for 2011-08-22 | Youth Vote, Technology, Politics Trackback on Aug 22nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm
  8. 8 Stop The Pipeline! » Climate Justice Action Trackback on Aug 22nd, 2011 at 6:16 pm
  9. 9 Green News & Events, August 29, 2011 « Bethesda Green Trackback on Aug 29th, 2011 at 7:08 am
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About Jamie

Jamie is the co-coordinator of, an international global warming campaign. A recent college graduate, he lives in San Francisco, CA. In 2007, he co-organized Step It Up, a campaign that pulled together over 2,000 climate rallies across the United States to push for strong climate action at the federal level. He's also an early member of the youth climate movement, leading one of Energy Action's first campaigns in 2005: Road to Detroit, a nationwide veggie-oil bus tour to promote sustainable transportation. He's traveled to Montreal and Bali to lobby the UN with youth, but he's a strong believer that change happens in the streets not in meetings. Jamie received the Morris K. Udall award in 2007 and has been recognized by the mighty state of Vermont for his work on climate change. You can also find him blogging at Campus Progress' "Pushback,", and

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