TWAC Blockade Portland Transcanada Office with Tripod

553993_672459889449077_590622421_n29July 2013 Update: The action has been declared a success as businesses were forced to lock their doors and close their blinds – apparently the dance party was just too much of them to even look at! In addition, all TWAC activists have avoided arrest and gear was not confiscated

A tripod has been erected at the entrance of a building that houses a TransCanada office, blocking the entrance and causing businesses inside to lock the doors. Protesters outside have responded with a very glittery and colorful dance party in front of the building and a banner that reads “No Tar Sands On Native Lands. Stop Genocide.”

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This action was organized by the Trans and Womyns Action Camp (TWAC), a direct action group for women and trans* and gender-variant folks. A correspondent from TWAC said that they took action today “to stand in solidarity with communities that are affected disproportionately by tar sands, including everyone in Alberta who is forced to live in areas of tar sands oil extraction, folks near the Gulf Coast affected by tar sand refinement plants, and communities who are living on the pipeline route.” With conditions on the Gulf Coast already toxic, high rates of asthma and cancer are becoming the norm, and the arrival of tar sands will only worsen these conditions. In the Athabaska watershed in Alberta, communities have seen the rise of a large number of rare cancers, and First Nations communities have been affected most heavily.

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Steph Cascadia, who is sitting at the top of the tripod, said, “Extraction of the tar sands is the most destructive project on the continent. It threatens the integrity of the entire biosphere, not to mention the First Nations peoples dependent upon access to clean water, land, and air for the health of their communities.”’

A correspondent from TWAC also said that TWAC was there “to remind the employees of TransCanada that the death and destruction does not end when they go home to their families, or when they leave to take their lunch break. Lots of other people have jobs and are often not able to work and provide for their families because of the actions that this corporation has taken, which solely benefit TransCananda–nobody else wins.”

Security guard in the foreground, dance party in the back

Security guard in the foreground, dance party in the back

Yudith Nieto, a TWAC participant who traveled from a community in Houston affected by tar sands refineries, said, “I am committed to amplifying the voices of communities of color that are systematically silenced, like mine, that are being disproportionately affected by environmentally destructive industries, and experiencing racism and classism.”

This action follows a long string of actions taken by groups and communities all across the country to stop tar sands extraction, transportation, and refinement – all of which put communities at risk and exacerbate global climate change. These actions can be taken virtually anywhere in the United States or Canada where there are corporations who invest in, construct, or otherwise do business with tar sands infrastructure. Little by little, we will stop these corporate marauders.