| WASHINGTON, March 2
WASHINGTON, March 2 Police arrested dozens of
young people protesting the Keystone XL project on Sunday, as
demonstrators fastened themselves with plastic ties to the White
House fences and called for U.S. President Barack Obama to
reject the controversial oil pipeline.
Participants, who mostly appeared to be college-aged, held
signs reading "There is no planet B" and "Columbia says no to
fossil fuels," referring to the university in New York.
Another group, several of whom were clad in white jumpsuits
splattered with black ink that was meant to represent oil, lay
down on a black tarp spread out on Pennsylvania Avenue to stage
a mock spill.
Organizers estimated 1,000 people protested and said several
hundred agreed to risk arrest by refusing to leave the sidewalk
in front of the White House.
"If the Democratic Party wants to keep our vote, they better
make sure President Obama rejects that pipeline," said Nick
Stracco, a 23-year-old student at Tulane University in New
Canadian energy firm TransCanada Corp is behind the
proposed pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta's oil
sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Supporters say it
would create thousands of jobs.
The project already weathered a State Department
environmental review, which was required because the project
would cross international borders. Several other agencies also
are doing reviews, and Obama has final say.
Environmental groups, who fear oil spills along the pipeline
and say it could hasten climate change, have staged a number of
protests at the White House over Keystone.
Sunday's event, which was planned by students with support
from environmental groups 350.org and the Energy Action
Coalition, began with a rally at Georgetown University, where
Obama unveiled a new climate change plan last summer.
The group marched to the White House, where police began
arresting protesters, pulling them aside in small groups into
tents set up on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Organizers said they intended to remind the White House that
young people are a key voting demographic of the president's
party and their peers do not want to inherit environmental
damage caused by current leaders.
"Our future is on the line. The climate is on the line,"
said Aly Johnson-Kurts, 20, who is taking a year off from Smith
College in Massachusetts. She said she had decided to get
arrested on Sunday. "When do we say we've had enough?"