After a massive direct action protest on July 21st at the site of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands strip-mining site, a total of 21 were arrested 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 in the morning on July 21st, land defenders in Utah locked themselves to equipment being used to clear-cut and grade an area designated for the tar sands’ companies processing plant, as well as a fenced “cage” 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: “You are trespassing on Ute land” and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.”
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. A media representative from Unedited Media was also arrested.
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 “deter” any supporters from actually coming to the jail.
Currently all 21 individuals are still being processed and held. This action is part of an escalating campaign by a coalition of local groups including our allies at Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Canyon Country Rising Tide. Since May they have been holding vigil by camping on land near the mine site. They’ve fought this tar sands mine with letters, lawsuits, public education, conference disruptions and construction blockades.
This fight is far from over, and Utahans have already done an incredible job building an inclusive, family friendly grassroots-led campaign. The mining corporation, US Oil Sands Inc, is already facing low investor confidence, and more support is needed from outside Utah to truly shut down this reckless project.
Stand with the 21 land defenders in Utah. Donate now and please, share this message widely.
Our hearts go out to the jailed blockaders, their families, and everyone threatened by this tar sands mine.
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. Donate to the land defenders’ legal support fund using this secure link.
Activists Say Arrests Made At Protest At Utah Tar Sands Mine Project, Reuters: Sheriff’s deputies in Utah arrested nearly two dozen environmental protesters who chained themselves to fences and construction equipment on Monday at a tar sands mining project in the remote Book Cliffs mountains, an activist group said. The Tar Sands Resistance group said about 80 activists set up a “blockade” at the PR Springs mine to highlight what it said would be huge environmental damage if it goes ahead.