After a massive direct action protest today at the site of U.S. Oil Sandsâ€™ tar sands strip-mining site, a total ofÂ 21 were arrestedÂ and are currently awaiting charges at Uintah County Jail in Vernal, Utah. In addition to protestors, those acting as legal observers, independent media, and jail support were arrested, as well as several indigenous and trans individuals whose safety we are deeply concerned about.
Early this morning land defenders locked themselves to equipment being used to clear-cut and grade an area designated for the tar sandsâ€™ companies processing plant, as well as a fenced â€œcageâ€ used to store the equipment. Others formed a physical blockade with their bodies to keep work from happening, and to protect those locked-down to the equipment. Banners were also hung off the cage that read: â€œYou are trespassing on Ute landâ€ and â€œRespect Existence or Expect Resistance.â€
13 people were arrested for locking to equipment. An additional six people were arrested after sitting in the road to prevent the removal of those being taken away in two police vans. Two of the protesters arrested were injured. One was taken a nearby hospital to be treated, while the other is being treated at the Uintah County Jail. The nature of their injuries is not being disclosed by the county sheriffs.
Two additional people were arrested when they arrived at Uintah Country Jail to provide support to the land defenders inside. An estimated 10 armed deputies with police dogs were standing outside the jail wearing bullet proof vests. Those at the jail to provide support were told that the deputies were there to â€œdeterâ€ any supporters from actually coming to the jail.
Currently all 21 individuals are still being processed and held.
Support these brave land defenders who put their hearts and bodies on the line by donating to their legal fund.
Rising Tide North America is handling donations through The Action Network.Â Donate to the land defendersâ€™ legal support fundÂ using this secure link