Protesters glue themselves together at Westborough office of company building Keystone pipeline
WESTBOROUGH -- Eight protesters were arrested at the TransCanada corporate offices here Monday afternoon after they SuperGlued their hands and chained their waists and ankles together to protest the company’s Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Seven of the eight protesters arrested were still chained together when brought to the Westborough police station on Monday. They were expected to be released some time Monday night on $40 bail each.
Jacklyn Gil, a Brandeis University junior who helped coordinate the demonstration, said at the station that the protesters were brought in at about 5:40 p.m., though she had not seen them since their arrest.
“They were in good spirits all day, so I can’t imagine it’s different,” she said.
In a statement, Westborough police identified those arrested as Emily Edgerly, 20, of Lexington; Devyn Weis Powell, 20, of Lake Oswego, Ore.; Lisa Rose Purdy, 20, of Waltham; Benjamin L. Thompson, 22, of Durham, N.H.; Benjamin J. Trolio, 22, of Burnt Hills, N.Y.; Allison J. Welton, 20, of Tonasket Wash.; Dorian S. Williams, 20, of Chicago; and Shea M. Riester, 22, of Brighton.
All eight will be charged with being a disorderly person, disturbing the peace, and trespassing, police said. They are scheduled to be arraigned in Westborough District Court on Tuesday morning.
Police said a locksmith unlocked protesters’ ankle chains and the Westborough Fire Department assisted in removing the SuperGlue from their hands.
One protester was freed from the chain around his waist before being transported to police headquarters but the other seven remained bound until a key was delivered to the station at 6:05 p.m. The key was used to unlock the remaining waist padlocks.
Marla Marcum, a supporter of the protesters, said at the station that police threatened observers with trespassing charges if they did not leave the office park during the demonstration.
Gil said earlier on Monday that the protesters were not affiliated with any other group and were opposed to the pipeline because they believe it will cause serious damage to the environment.
TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard called the protest a “stunt” and said the company’s first priority is to ensure the safety of its employees.
“This publicity stunt is another example of protestors’ attempts to stop a project that is currently providing thousands of jobs to American workers,” he said in a statement.
The Keystone XL is a proposed 1,179-mile extension to an existing 2,150-mile pipeline system operated by TransCanada that transports crude oil from eastern Alberta, Canada, to the American Midwest.
The pipeline is a $7 billion project that would ultimately connect oil sands in Canada to refineries in Texas. It is not designed to pass through Massachusetts. Gil said the students are acting to show solidarity with protests scheduled to happen in Texas in coming days.
One of the protesters, Powell, a Tufts University junior, reiterated the group’s environmental concerns in an email to supporters, which was forwarded to a reporter.
“As you read this email, I am locked down in a TransCanada office with seven other youth activists,” she wrote. “We are engaged in a protest against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, because building this pipeline to develop the tar sands will lock us irrevocably into the climate crisis.”
Powell added, “Chaining myself to my seven friends is a last resort after our government, heavily influenced by corporate fossil fuel interests, has proved unable to take action against this deadly project.”
As he begins his second term, President Obama faces increasing pressure to decide whether to approve the pipeline, which some say would create jobs and boost the economy and others criticize as harmful to the environment, the Associated Press reported last month.Globe Correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report. Todd Feathers can be reached at email@example.com. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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