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For basic information about Keystone XL, see our Resources page
To participate in the action you will need to plan to be in DC for at least two days — with the unlikely possibility of a third.
First, all participants will be required to join a nonviolent direct action training, which will be held from 5-9 PM on Saturday 3/1. Dinner will be provided, and it will be at Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street NW. At the training we will discuss the plan for the action, practice key elements of the event, and go through all the legal and logistical issues involved with the action. Everyone who wishes to participate in civil disobedience on the 2nd must attend the training on the 1st.
Then, at 10AM on Sunday March 2nd we will meet at Georgetown University where President Obama delivered his climate speech. We will gather, share directions and intentions, then march down Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House. Along the way we will occupy intersections with symbolic oil spills, and bring a little bit of Keystone XL home to its backers in DC. When we get to the White House we will gather again to hear from people who are on the front lines of this fight, and prepare for civil disobedience.
Then we will march to the fence of the White House and commit an act of peaceful civil disobedience — bringing a human oil spill to President Obama’s front door.
We absolutely cannot guarantee anything in the legal process but there is a long tradition of civil disobedience and similar actions in DC, with fairly consistent responses. If you intend to participate in the action, we strongly request that you attend a non-violence training and an action briefing before the action. Trainings will include a legal briefing about what to be prepared for and expect.
All protestors need to be responsible for their own safety and well-being (while being accountable to the broader group and the Action Guidelines). This includes legal support. We are working with the National Lawyers Guild to provide basic legal support and advice to participants, but we cannot guarantee any other support beyond that.
As we said – there are of course, no guarantees, but most similar actions in DC are treated very consistently by authorities. Typically, anyone arrested in civil disobedience such as this get either a citation (like a traffic ticket), or a simple misdemeanor charge (such as Trespass, or Failure to Disperse, or Incommoding).
Those who are arrested are usually given an option called “Post and Forfeit”, where they pay a small fine ($50), and the charges are dismissed. This is essentially like paying a parking ticket and is not considered a conviction.
People with extensive past records of civil disobedience, or who choose to not pay this fine may remain in custody longer, have to return for a future court date, or face additional charges. For most people that live outside the DC area, the post-and-forfeit option likely makes sense logistically, and keeps the focus on the issues and the ongoing action. These possibilities will be covered in more detail in the legal briefings.
Be aware that if you have unusual circumstances (citizenship or immigration issues, or have outstanding warrants) your situation could be handled very differently. We encourage people in these situations to consult a lawyer, and recognize that your situation could be very complicated for yourself, and the rest of the action. We are not encouraging minors to participate.
To coordinate rides, please see our Ride Board page
If you can provide group housing, or can help coordinate– let us know!
Through donations we do hope to support frontline communities who will be immediately impacted by the pipeline, and other allies who might not otherwise have the means to attend.
Many people have generously donated to help defray the cost of the legal fine. Please email Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in financial support for this expense. If you choose to send a request, please offer to pay as much of the fine as feasible for you, so that we may offer others support and make this action as accessible as possible. Let me know if you can do this, and/or if you have any questions about it.
Let us know if you need support and want to come, or if you can OFFER support or a donation.
Once at the White House, as long as you are on the sidewalk in front of the White House and keep moving you aren’t breaking any regulations. The action organizers have applied for permits to be on the sidewalk in front of the White House for the entirety of the action. We don’t need a permit for the closed portion of Penn. Ave., NW (1600 block) because that’s technically DC jurisdiction. There is a requirement to keep moving while demonstrating in the “picture postcard” zone on the sidewalk in front of the White House sidewalk (36 CFR 7.96). The protesters that are willing to risk arrest will disobey that requirement by refusing to move when we get to the White House fence.