Environmental Activists Plan Illegal White House Demonstration

‘XL Dissent’ anticipates numerous arrests at anti-pipeline protest

An activist dressed as a polar bear participates in a protest vigil in Lafayette Park across from the White House
An activist dressed as a polar bear participates in a protest vigil in Lafayette Park across from the White House / AP
February 13, 2014

A group of anti-Keystone pipeline protesters is telling its members to prepare for mass arrests as they illegally shut down intersections in Washington, D.C., on their way to the White House.

The group, which calls itself XL Dissent, will gather at Georgetown University on March 2 and march to the White House, "occupying" downtown D.C. intersections along the way.

"We hope that this action will set the record for the largest single-day act of civil disobedience at the White House in American history," the group said on its website.

Participants in demonstrations in front of the White House must keep moving in order to comply with applicable laws. "The protesters that are willing to risk arrest will disobey that requirement by refusing to move when we get to the White House fence," the website says.

XL Dissent is telling participants to make all necessary preparations for their possible arrests.

"There are of course, no guarantees, but most similar actions in D.C. are treated very consistently by authorities," the website explains. "Typically, anyone arrested in civil disobedience such as this get either a citation (like a traffic ticket), or a simple misdemeanor charge (such as Trespass, or Failure to Disperse, or Incommoding)."

Illegal immigrants and wanted criminals may face additional complications, the site warns.

"Be aware that if you have unusual circumstances (citizenship or immigration issues, or have outstanding warrants) your situation could be handled very differently," the site’s FAQ says.

A recent review by the State Department was seen as clearing most bureaucratic obstacles to the pipeline’s approval, which has been delayed for years by the Obama administration.

With approval looking likely, environmentalist groups are increasingly looking to illegal activity to combat the pipeline. Even ostensibly mainstream groups such as the Sierra Club have officially endorsed "civil disobedience" to combat Keystone.

XL Dissent will hold "non-violence training" and "action briefings" before the March 2 event, the website said.

Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to participate in "the arrestable part of the action."

Published under: Keystone