Twelve Princeton students went to Washington DC this past weekend to join a roughly 1000-strong protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. Seven of those students zip tied themselves to the White House gates, along with roughly 400 other protesters, and were arrested. Nine Princeton students were arrested in total according to Mason Herson-Hord, a leader of the New Jersey contingent of the protest.
During the course of a march from the Georgetown University campus to the White House students also acted out oil spills, according to Dayton Martindale ’15. They laid a black tarp on the ground and students wearing hazmat suits, including two Princeton students, laid down on the tarp. Two Princeton students were arrested for taking part in a mock oil spill in front of the White House. The group also staged a mock oil spill in front of Secretary of State John Kerry’s house.
According to Martindale the students were zip-tied to the fence for roughly an hour before the police warned them and began arresting them, a process that took about four hours. Martindale was then handcuffed and taken to the police station, where he was put in a jail cell and almost immediately given the chance to pay fifty dollars and be released. If Martindale had not had the fifty dollars he would have had to get a court date and gone through tedious conventional legal processes, which he thinks demonstrates discrimination in the justice system.
The protest aimed to send a message to President Obama, reminding him of promises he had made to fight for the environment and reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“If they’re going to do something absurd like pursue an all of the above energy policy I’m going to do something absurd like chain myself to a fence,” Martindale said.
CORRECTION: This post has been amended to reflect the fact that nine Princeton students were arrested in total, not seven. Seven were arrested for zip tying themselves to the fence, and two more were arrested for participating in a mock oil spill.