For the weekend of May 13 – 15, climate activists, indigenous people, and members of frontline communities came together in Anacortes, WA, for the Northwest’s role in Break Free actions that spanned the globe. Break Free served as a call to break free from fossil fuels before climate change slips to the point of causing massive destruction throughout the world. Already we are seeing the loss of species and habitats, rising temperatures and melting ice, threats of disease and famine, a dying ocean, and a ticking clock on Earth’s ability to sustain the lives of its inhabitants. The Northwest action also highlighted how the destructiveness of the fossil fuel industry is intertwined with the history of colonization, visually illustrated in Anacortes where the Shell and Tesoro refineries sit on land stolen from the Swinomish.
Highlights of the weekend in Anacortes included: a multi-day railroad blockade in which 150 people camped on railroad tracks to prevent the passage of oil trains; an Indigenous Day of Action, which saw thousands of people marching through the streets; and kayak flotillas, continuing the popularity of kayaktivism. The weekend was intended to foster confidence and capacity in the development of a mass movement that will gain power to overcome the threat climate change presents to all social justice movements around the world.
Throughout the weekend, attorneys and volunteers with CLDC were on the ground to staff a legal information and support booth, present “Know Your Rights” trainings, coordinate legal observers, and to assist with jail support when 52 people were arrested for criminal trespass during the police raid of the railroad blockade—and our legal support continues. CLDC is taking the lead on coordinating a legal team for the 52 people who were arrested to make sure that everyone has the legal representation that they need and has the support they need to make both personal and political decisions about how to move forward with their cases. The first step for those arrested will be arraignments on June 2nd, where they will find out what charges are officially filed against them. Thank you to the NW NLG groups and to all of the volunteers that plugged in to make the Break Free actions a safe and empowering weekend for all.
Please support CLDC in coordinating legal support for those arrested at Break Free, as well as our continued work to have the backs of those who are fighting back against the corporations that are fueling climate change. We are especially looking for funds to be able to offer travel cost reimbursement to CLDC cooperating attorneys volunteering their time to take cases in rural Mt. Vernon, Washington (Skaggit County Circuit Court) along with other miscellaneous litigation costs—no activist defendant will be required to pay CLDC attorneys for their defense representation.