Report back from Animal Connection of Texas – Protest at DHL

Expanding on recent protests Animal Connection of Texas has had in conjunction with The Bunny Alliance at ATIs Irving office, members of ACT gathered in front of DHL Express in Dallas on Thursday, September 25th demanding that DHL use their influence – as the biggest customer of ABX Air, responsible for over half of their business – to insist that ABX Air/ATSG/ATI join the ranks of China Southern Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, & Hainan Airlines by enacting a policy against the transportation of animals to laboratories; where they are destined to be used in cruel, archaic experiments.
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We began by forming a line near the front entrance of the building, chanting to get the attention of the employees inside, after a while, a IMG_20140925_182027570protester held the door open as we continued to chant. Eventually, a group of 8 – 10 DHL employees emerged from a loading dock nearby. We explained why we were there, but a particularly huffy employee – loudly and repeatedly declaring that we were wrong about ABX Air – made it difficult. After a few minutes of trying to engage them in a discussion about the barbarism of vivisection and the role ABX Air plays in it, we were informed that the cops were being called, we headed back to the public sidewalk.
At this point there were small crowds of curious people standing outside of nearby buildings. A man from the UPS building across the street approached us asking questions, and requested flyers to share with his coworkers and friends. We saw him handing them to the others standing outside.IMG_20140925_181854841

Shortly after that, about 8 cop cars pulled up, one after another. We were told sternly, that we had to leave because we didn’t pull a permit with DFW Airport. By the time they were done pulling up the ordinance number, as requested by us, the protest was over.
Overall we are satisfied that we engaged many people and brought attention to the issue, and we look forward to having more DFW area ABX Air/ATI/DHL protests in the near future in support of the Gateway to Hell campaign.IMG_20140927_145807

Put Pressure on DHL and ABX Air: Announcements and Upcoming Protests

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ABX Air, a cargo company based out of Ohio, is the main airline transporting primates into the U.S. to be used in lab experiments for companies such as SNBL, Charles Rivers Laboratories, Covance, and others.

 DHL is ABX Air’s largest customer (providing over 50% of their business), and so the Gateway to Hell network is demanding that DHL use the influence that it has with ABX Air to stop the primate shipments. Gateway to Hell is calling for an immediate escalation of the campaign against DHL to hold them accountable for ABX Air’s actions and stop ABX Air from accepting any future shipments of primates.

DHL is a global company, just as Gateway to Hell is a global activist network, so DHL can expect global opposition for as long as they remain complicit in ABX Air’s facilitation of the torture of animals in labs.

As part of Primate Liberation Week, October 11th-19th, activists all over the world are organizing demonstrations against ABX Air and DHL, as well as Air France/Delta and laboratories that experiment on primates. Below is a list of upcoming demonstrations in the U.S. that you can attend, and we are calling on all of our supporters to organize a protest in your city!

Here is what you can do:
1. Find a DHL Express office or DHL Authorized Shipping Center near you. This includes many franchise mail box and shipping centers that can be found in nearly every city.
2. Print out literature to hand out to the public and to DHL and shipping center employees. Leaflets about DHL and ABX can be downloaded by clicking here or going to thebunnyallince.com
3. Print out signs or make your own signs with poster board and a marker.You can download signs about DHL and ABX by clicking here or going to thebunnyalliance.com
4. Get some friends and local activists together to go to the DHL location near you and have a protest!
5. Be sure to let us know about your protest so that we can help advertise it. Email us at thebunnyalliance@riseup.net
6. Take pictures of the event. Send us the photos and a short description of the event so that we can post it on our website and on  GatewaytoHell.net for DHL and ABX Air to see how many people are speaking out about primate transports.

If you need any help organizing a protest, finding a DHL location near you, or getting signs and leaflets, please contact us at thebunnyalliance@riseup.net. We are more than happy to help!

Primate Liberation Week is kicking off with Stop Animal Exploitation Now’s (SAEN) annual Free the Animals Conference, October 10th- 13th in Cincinnati, OH.  The conference focuses on anti-vivisection activism and how to organize strategic campaigns to stop the animal testing industry. Bunny Alliance co-founders and organizers Amanda Schemkes and Jordan Ezell will be speaking at the conference about the importance of the global Gateway to Hell campaign, strategic campaigning, how to organize a protest, and what your legal rights are as an activist. To register for the Free the Animals Conference, go to SAENonline.org.

Following the conference, join us for a protest at ABX Air’s global headquarters in Wilmington, OH on October 13th at 11:00am.

Upcoming events:

September 25th: DHL protest in Dallas, TX
Hosted by Animal Connection of Texas
Time: 6:00 PM -7:00pm
Location: DHL near Dallas Airport
1640 West 23rd Street, Dallas, TX 75261
NOTE: The legal address is Dallas because it’s near
DFW Airport, but it’s actually in  Grapevine.
Contact: Savanna Batten (817-584-2503)

October 3rd: DHL Protest in San Francisco, CA
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance
Time: 11:00am  – 1:00pm
Location: DHL Express SF
401 23rd St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)
thebunnyalliance@riseup.net
October 10th-12th: Free The Animals Conference in Cincinnati, OH
Hosted by SAEN
Please visit SAENonline.org for more information and for
registration.

October 11th: Air France Protest in Los Angeles, CA
Hosted by Empty Cages LA and Progress for Science
Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm
Location: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Tom Bradley International Terminal (3)
Departures

October 12th: Air France Protest in Minneapolis, MN
Time: 9:00am-11:00am
Location: Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport

October 13th: ABX Air Protest in Wilmington, OH
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance and local activists
Time: 11:00am-1:00pm
Location: ABX Air, Inc. / Air Transport International
1113 Airport Road, Wilmington, OH 45177
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)
thebunnyalliance@riseup.net

October 16th: DHL Protest in Los Angeles
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance and Progress for Science
Time: 11:00am-12:30pm
Location: DHL Express
1900 Sacramento St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)
thebunnyalliance@riseup.net

 

October 16th: DHL Protest in Irvine, CA
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance and Empty Cages LA
Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm
Location: Postal Annex
15333 Culver Dr Irvine, CA 92604
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)
thebunnyalliance@riseup.net

 

October 18th: DHL Protest in Seattle, WA
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance
Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Location: The Home Office
2606 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (located
between Cedar and Vine
Contact: Amanda Schemkes (425-314-7511)
thebunnyalliance@riseup.net

 October 18th: Air France Protest in San Diego, CA
Time: 10:00am- 11:30am
Location: San Diego Lindberg Airport

Add your event to the list today and be a part of saving animals from labs!

Contact The Bunny Alliance at thebunnyalliance@riseup.net

The Bunny Alliance, Progress for Science, and Empty Cages LA hold demos against Delta and UCLA Vivisector Edythe London

On Friday, September 12th, Progress for Science, Empty Cages LA, 16 (Medium)and The Bunny Alliance organized a demonstration at the Los Angeles International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the world, to protest Delta Air Lines’ continued involvement in scheduling, booking, and profiting off of Air France flights coming into North America via the Chicago O’Hare Airport carrying primates destined for laboratories.

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Activists in Los Angeles have been putting constant pressure on both Delta and Air France with regular demonstrations outside of the Air France ticket counters as well as the Delta ticket counters. The momentum in Los Angeles is not slowing down and activists are determined to see a final end to the transport of animals to labs.

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To further the Gateway to Hell campaign in LA, Empty Cages LA and Progress for Science are holding another demo at the LAX Air France terminal on October 11th followed by two DHL demos organized by ECLA, Progress, and The Bunny Alliance on October 16th as part of Primate Liberation week and the campaign against ABX Air. Los Angeles activists are thirsty for another victory to add to their long list of successful campaigns for animals.

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During the same weekend on the afternoon of Sunday, September 14th, activists who are united in fighting for the liberation of monkeys imprisoned in the University of California Los Angeles met in the neighborhood of UCLA vivisector Edythe London. This action again was organized by three organizations working together: Progress for Science, Empty Cages LA and the Bunny Alliance. Forming two lines on either side of the cul de sac that leads to her house, activists calmly delivered personal messages to Edythe London. This larger-than-anticipated group consisting of regulars, first-timers, and several folks from protests of years gone by made it known to London – again – that addicting monkeys to methamphetamine and nicotine is not okay; that the pursuit of tax payer dollars to fill UCLA’s coffers at the expense of human animals who suffer from addictions and are in desperate need of treatment, education, and other resources but are often left out in the cold due to underfunded programs is morally bankrupt; that addicting nonhumans to drugs shows us nothing about human addictions and is bad science; and that tormenting and killing other beings for our own ends whatever they may be is ethically bankrupt.

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As the sun sank behind the trees in this posh neighborhood, our group filed back down the hill to convene at a nearby vegan restaurant in Westwood to await the evening’s second action.
Under the stars, we returned to London’s and, lining the street facing hers, stood silently with light boards, each one a separate letter courtesy of the San Diego Light Brigade and a couple of committed So Cal activists. Our message FREE THE MONKEYS lit up the darkness.

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SAEN protests at ABX Global Headquarters!

On Thursday, September 18th, SAEN staff and local activists chanted at ABX Global Headquarters to demand that they not transport the shipment of 1400 monkeys to labs scheduled for that week,  and and to stop of ABX’s continued shipments of animals. To Increase pressure on ABX Air activists worldwide are preparing to protest DHL, an affiliate of ABX.10653467_10152582797119504_5443342533884392558_n

“Much of SAEN’s work is concentrated on unearthing the abuse and corruption inside vivisection facilities within the U.S. which keeps us stationed at our office. Yet, another very important aspect of our work is to not have what we dig up just collect dust on our desks or languish in our filing cabinets, but instead we take it to the streets in the form of protests and other outreach events, to the media in the form of news conferences, and to conferences where we speak and table to educate activists on our work and techniques.” – SAEN
This October SAEN is hosting the Free the Animals Conference in Cincinnati, OH. This three day anti-vivisection conference will take place October 10th-12th followed by another demonstration with The Bunny Alliance at ABX Air on October 13th at 11am. Come Learn about effective action against animal experimentation and get involved in the global Gateway to Hell Campaign!

Goodbye to the Fight or Flight Tour, but this was only a beginning…

When we set out on the Fight or Flight Tour, we had a long list of tour dates before us and it seemed that it would be an endless summer on the road. We were planning to travel thousands of miles, visit cities from coast to coast and many in between, and host dozens of workshops and protests—and we had no idea what we were really getting into. Although we’d all traveled before, this time it was getting into a vehicle with people representing four different groups—The Bunny Alliance, Resistance Ecology, the Earth First! Journal, and the Civil Liberties Defense Center—without knowing how well we’d live and work together, or what our travels would bring.

But what at first seemed like a tour that would never end soon became a tour that we were not ready to leave. The Fight or Flight Tour pushed, changed, and brought us together. Before barely hitting the road, we found out that two of our close friends, Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff, had been indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for allegedly releasing animals from a fur farm. Tyler was supposed to be on the Fight or Flight Tour, and we had many rough moments of dealing with the weight of why he was no longer traveling with us. But ultimately we knew that Tyler and Kevin wanted the tour to happen and that none of us were going to let State repression stop us from continuing to fight. We committed to the tour and to each other, and we were touched by the outpouring of support we received from the grassroots community.

As tour progressed, we kept Tyler and Kevin close in our thoughts—and luckily had the chance to visit Kevin—and had an amazing summer of furthering the campaign to stop the transport of animals to labs; connecting with animal liberation activists, land defenders and resistance communities; and attempting to build solidarity along the way. We remembered a life beyond cities, where animals roam, trees grow, and stars shine. A remembrance of what we must be working in desperation to save. As we watched a lightning storm roll over occupied Lakota land that we had been welcomed onto, as we watched the sun set over the Book Cliffs in Utah, and as we slept under night skies brightened by the stars and moon, we were being held in the tangled beauty of the wild. The resistance—against capitalism, colonialism, borders, violent states and corporations that exploit the earth and its inhabitants—must be driven by this vision of a better world. We cannot let asphalt, roads, concrete buildings, prisons, or cages bury our vision for liberation and autonomy. We are not working to reform these oppressive structures. We do not advocate for assimilation. We must position ourselves against the devastating occupation of the land while demonstrating true solidarity with the animals, people, and communities under repression.

When it came time to actually say goodbye to tour, it felt like we had to say goodbye to everything we’d created and experienced during our time on the road. Our last protest was in Seattle at a Delta Cargo Office, and the protest felt bittersweet. Several police cars were at the office before we even arrived, cops filmed the protest, and three men in ties stood around taking our photos—all reminding us that the presence of State repression had followed us all the way through tour, but that we were still speaking out on behalf of animals. But even though it was our last protest of tour, we decided that the spirit of the Fight or Flight Tour cannot end, even if we had to say goodbye to this adventure.

To continue the effort of building a grassroots movement that connects animal rights activists with those working to defend the land and the wild, creating strength and solidarity in the face of State repression, and grounding our fight in passionate resistance—we are continuing to work together to develop a project that is inspired by the sparks of resistance that are already shining, and that will help that resistance to burn brighter.

Please continue to support all of the organizations that traveled on this tour and those that helped us along the way, and keep watch for what’s to come and be a part of it.

Thank you to all of the groups, communities, human and non-human animals, campaigns, and wild spaces that welcomed us and with whom we are fighting. You give us hope, and you turned a tour that we were all initially uncertain of into the start of something more inspiring than we could have imagined.

In solidarity and with resistance,

The Fight or Flight Tour — Amanda, Grayson, Jordan, Justin, and Suzanna

pre-tour at Forum - edited

 

Border trouble: Colonialism and repression on the unceded & occupied Coast Salish territories

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The occupied territories of so-called British Columbia.

When charting our tour route through the Pacific Northwest, we knew for sure that we wanted to visit so-called Vancouver on the occupied and unceded territories of the Coast Salish. This is an area ripe with resistance. The First Nations in so-called British Columbia have largely never ceded their territory or entered into treaty negotiations with the settler state. In fact, the city of Vancouver recently formally declared itself to be on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. These lands are home to extremely dynamic frontline communities of indigenous resistance. At Oppenheimer Park in so-called Vancouver, indigenous protesters have started a permanent camp and issued an eviction to settlers after the city attempted to evict the homeless population living there. In the northern territories, the Unist’ot’en Camp, a resistance community dedicated to defending the Wet’suwet’en lands from pipeline development and tar sands infrastructure, has evicted TransCanada. The Neskonlith band has issued an eviction to Imperial Metals after the Mount Polley mine disaster in the territories of the Secwepemc First Nation. The Red Chris mine, also owned by Imperial Metals and nearly operational, is currently being blockaded by the Tahltan First Nation. The Tahltan have also set up a blockade in opposition to settler moose hunting in their territory. Along the southern coast, the Central Coast First Nations Bear Working Group, a project of the Wuikinuxv, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, and Nuxalk Nations enacted a total ban on trophy hunting on their unceded and occupied territories. They have vowed to uphold it.

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Pipeline resistance at the Unist’ot’en Camp

Settler movements in the territories are vibrant as well. Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories is active in climate justice and solidarity work for the Unist’ot’en. Vancouver Animal Defense League has been running a very successful pressure campaigns against high-end fur retailers, Vancouver Aquarium, and the group recently blockaded the Calgary Stampede. These are the communities with whom we were intent on networking. We had a workshop scheduled at Spartacus Books and a day of protests that followed. We were excited.

Blockade of Calgary Stampede
Blockade of Calgary Stampede

We knew that attempting to cross the Canada-US border would not be easy. Since 9/11, the border has become increasingly more restrictive for migrants and asylum seekers, while simultaneously increasing the flow of free trade. Such racist, neoliberal polices are part of what No One Is Illegal organizer Harsha Walia calls border imperialism, and they are an extension of settler colonialism. The result is a border under heavy surveillance. It is notorious for harassment and detainment and has been used as a tool to chill activists attempting to cross. But given that we were only attempting to enter Canada for a workshop and simple protests, we expected nothing more than interrogation and possibly detention.

We were wrong. When we drove up to the border guard booth, we were immediately asked to pull our vehicle to the side and go inside the Canadian Border Services Agency office for questioning. After three hours of questioning into our personal and activist backgrounds, we were denied entry supposedly based on prior criminal history that made us “inadmissible” due to security concerns under Canadian immigration and customs law. CBSA agents can use individual discretion when determining who is and who is not a security threat and when to deem someone “inadmissible.” In our case, we were denied entry only after being questioned (to no avail) about our activity, histories, and our plans while in Vancouver. This whole process took about three hours. We then had to immediately head back over the US border at the Peace Arch Port of Entry and deal with US Customs and Border Protection, who detained us for an additional three hours. We sat in a cold, gray waiting room adorned in US flags wrapped with gold fringes while border patrol agents thoroughly searched our car and personal items. They were not forthcoming regarding why we were being detained, and when we asked why it took so long they responded, “one of you has a really common name so it took a long time to find you in the system.” As a point of clarification: none of us have common names.

The whole experience highlighted not only the absurdity of surveillance and repression for activists, it highlighted the problem of borders and the colonial function they serve. When attempting entry into Canada, we were literally told by a border agent, “It is an honorable thing to cross an international border,” as if to tell us in reality, “You have no rights here.” The land we attempted to cross are the occupied and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples and do not belong to either the Canadian or US governments. The border itself serves the purposes of maintaining racist, imperialist, occupying powers and policies. While in detention on both sides of the border, we were practically the only white settlers not in police uniform. We were some of the only people being detained that were not people of color. Constructing borders, both physical and relational, and frameworks of “legality” and “illegality” with respect to migration is a function of settler states. From our social positions it was a privilege to be attempting to cross at all, let alone for activist purposes, afforded to us through the colonial system.

This is why we wanted to come to the occupied territories of so-called Vancouver, BC. It is imperative that animal liberationists understand that the struggle for animals can directly be traced to colonial and capitalist roots. Solidarity with animals needs to extend to solidarity with communities and peoples that struggle under colonial occupation, ecological devastation, capitalist exploitation, and border imperialism. These are the fundamental barriers to animal liberation. Continued isolationism for our movement prevents us from seeing the connection. So while we were indeed denied entry, it strengthened our resolve to work in solidarity against the colonial-capitalist system and with the people and animals that suffer under it.

VADL protest
VADL protest

In spite of these setbacks, Vancouver Animal Defense League still held a demonstration in solidarity:

 “On August 20th, the Fight or Flight tour crew was denied entry into unceded Coast Salish Territories (so-called Vancouver, BC) by the colonial state of Canada, and the proposed workshops were unfortunately cancelled. In solidarity with The Bunny Alliance’s ongoing campaign against Delta Air Lines and Air France, activists with the Vancouver Animal Defense League carried through with the planned protests at the Vancouver International Airport the following day. Upon arrival at the airport, activists were met with at least a dozen cops, along with airport security and representatives, who were all expecting the protest. One of the cops told the protestors that they had heard about the crew who was detained and turned back at the border, and that the airport reps had corralled off a designated protest area. Not knowing where the designated area was, protestors entered the airport and headed towards Delta’s check-in booths, until airport reps and cops escorted them back out. For the next hour activists held signs at the protest area by the entrance, which had surprisingly high exposure to foot and car traffic. Quite a few passersby came up and took flyers, asked questions, and expressed support for the campaign.”

Moscow, Idaho: Fighting Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in the Northern Rockies

Lochsa_River_Keith_Ewing_IFG_FlickrNorthwestern Montana and Northern Idaho are renowned for the scenic drives that dissect wild landscape. So when leaving West Yellowstone to head for Moscow, Idaho, we were excited to travel the winding highways, passing through mountainous corridors, wild rivers, and densely-forested watersheds. Roads, even the scenic ones, are relatively few and far between in the region. In fact, the Northern Rockies serve as a refuge for the largest remaining tracts of roadless wilderness in the lower 48 states. So when Imperial Oil/Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Harvest Energy, and others decided to absorb this small road system into the infrastructure of fossil fuel extraction, this place became a main stage of resistance.

Megaload1

Megaloads, as they colloquially are called, are massive loads of equipment to be used in tar sands extraction or refinement. They can be longer than football fields and weigh around one million pounds. Hundreds of these megaloads have been hauled through the meandering highways of the Northern Rockies in occupied Nez Perce territories over the last several years, en route to the Athabasca Tar Sands. These pieces of equipment are usually modules of even more massive refinery or extraction machinery. These lands have become bottlenecks for the entire tar sands project and the megaloads serve as a lynchpin target for the fossil fuel industry.

Land defenders and activists have seized the moment. The campaign to stop the megaloads has been led by indigenous resisters Idle No More, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide. Recently, the campaign has also been taken up by the Umatilla and Wrm Springs tribes, Portland Rising Tide and Rising Tide Seattle. Last year, a federal judge ruled to halt shipments of megaloads through the U.S. Highway 12 corridor, upholding the Treaty rights of the Nez Perce.While a definite victory in the campaign, it has forced companies to develop a new route and industrial corridor: North on U.S. Highway 95 through Moscow, Idaho.

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When we rolled into town on Monday, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) had been working round the clock to respond to an Idaho Transportation Department announcement on Friday that Bigge Crane and Rigging Company would be hauling the largest megaload yet through the region. Within hours the Fight or Flight Tour joined Nez Perce land defenders and Wild Idaho Rising Tide in the streets of Moscow to protest the oncoming megaload, part of a hydrocracker involved in tripling tar sands production at the Montana Refining Company owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners. This module alone measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds.

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After joining the crowd in downtown, we were asked to scout the convoy and relay information on its position. We drove down the rural highway south out of Moscow. Within a few minutes we were driving alone in the dark, surrounded by still fields of wheat, dimly mega1lit by moonlight. Then we saw the bright, beaming lights on the horizon, creeping towards us along the rolling hills. As the convoy approached, we could begin to sense something ominous. But only when it was directly upon us could we see its enormity. Surrounded by flaggers, pilot vehicles, Idaho State Police, push and pull trucks, and trailers, the shipment convoy seemed at least ¼ mile long. It sluggishly crept towards us and towards the protesters in Moscow. As we circled it to take pictures, the police wasted no time and detained us along the side of the road. We watched it pass, proceeding to Moscow.

megaIn Moscow, the megaload was met by dozens of protesters, land defenders, and members of the Nez Perce tribe. The police swarmed the streets in huge numbers and stood along the side the roadway, declaring that no one could enter the streets. As the megaload passed, the police stood between it and us while the crowd chanted and shouted in resistance. As it left the streets of Moscow north, many protesters left to follow it towards its next stop. As of this writing, the protests continue…

copcop3The following day, Wild Idaho Rising Tide hosted our workshop at The Attic. Upon suggestion from our hosts, we decided to tailor this particular workshop for the very persistent and dedicated community in Moscow. We engaged attendees in a Strategic Direct Action training to discuss the basics of direct action, action planning and roles, soft blockades, technical blockades, and the legal system.

risingtideAfter the training, we discussed our future working relationship with Wild Idaho Rising Tide and networking in the Northwest. From the coast to the Northern Rockies, we can stop the megaload shipments. We can halt the equipment. We can stop the tar sands. We can put an end to fossil fuels infrastructure.

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