Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Activists Blockade Seattle Port to Protest Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans

All entranceways to Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle blocked in protest of Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic. (Credit: King 5 news) Click to Enlarge.
For the second time in three days, Seattle is the vibrant center of the global climate movement.  On Saturday, hundreds of “kayaktivists” took to the water to protest the recent arrival of a Shell oil drilling rig.  On Monday, hundreds of activists blocked road traffic to the port where the rig is stationed, preventing the majority of port workers from getting to their jobs.

The immediate target of protest is Shell’s Polar Pioneer rig, which arrived in Puget Sound last Thursday.  Shell intends to use Seattle as a staging ground for oil drilling operations in the Arctic.  Activists are concerned about the high potential for spills and accidents in the remote, icy area off the Alaska coast, but they’re particularly outraged that Shell plans to drill for oil in the melting Arctic.  Climate scientists have said Arctic oil must stay in the ground if we’re to prevent the worst of climate change.  And they’re furious that Shell is bringing its dirty business to green Seattle.

The protesters began marching into the Port of Seattle before 7 a.m. on Monday.  They successfully blocked traffic on the West Seattle bridge early in the morning and then created a blockade at the port’s Terminal 5, where the Polar Pioneer is parked.
The #ShellNo protests came together without any designated leadership, said Ahmed Gaya, an organizer for Rising Tide Seattle, an environmental activist organization.
And indeed the protestors were a diverse group of people –university students, old-school activists, professionals in suits, and even a corgi or two.

“In my two and a half years of organizing in Seattle, I have never seen anything like this,” said Emily Johnston, an organizer with 350 Seattle.  “Everybody has jumped in, everybody is passionate, everybody is pretty unified.”

Read more at Activists Blockade Seattle Port to Protest Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans

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