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Pipeline protesters make voices heard in downtown OKC

Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report
Protesters of the Plains Pipeline in downtown Oklahoma City Thursday afternoon.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Before the law arrived, Mother Earth’s steady rain helped disperse the protesters chanting and holding signs outside the tony offices of the heavy-hitting Oklahoma City law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy.

“They’re not used to be challenged,” said Norman-based protester Karen Blasier, who tossed her sign into the entryway of the law firms’ office at 324 N. Robinson, as a red-faced security guard barked that they were on private property and blocking the entrance to their business.

The security guard refused to speak to Red Dirt Report or to protest organizers, including Stefan Warner, who helped organize today’s demonstration against Crowe & Dunlevy, a law firm which has been representing Plains Pipeline, which is building a common carrier crude oil pipeline from Cushing, Okla. and into Texas, according to Cleveland County court documents posted by NormanLeaks.org.

They arrived, having initially held a protest in front of the Bank of America Financial Center downtown – the “Stop the Red River II Pipeline Protest” - while rain clouds gathered overhead. It is Bank of America, protester explained, which is the lead financier of Plains All American Pipelines, which is part of the Red River II pipeline which will crisscross numerous bodies of water and tribal lands of a number of Native American tribes.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go!,” they chanted in unison, along with “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”

Oklahoma City resident Reanna Thompson held a simple sign, "Water is life," in an attempt to get her point across.

“Oil pipelines don’t benefit the public good,” Warner said. “It’s for private gain.”

Warner said he wanted to confront one of Crowe & Dunlevy’s attorneys, one Adam C. Hall, who he described in less than pleasant terms.

Nevertheless, Hall did not appear, although a dozen or so employees could be seen inside watching the protesters – many of them Native American activists, including Roberto Mendoza, a veteran of the history-changing takenover of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay in 1969 and the American Indian Movement – chant and hold their signs.

Mendoza tried to encourage the protesters by saying that Oklahoma has a history of struggle, noting the 1917 “Green Corn Rebellion,” which included an alliance of white, Native and African-American activists at that time.

“We need an alliance (of different groups) if we are going to make real changes in Oklahoma,” Mendoza said, adding that a movement is beginning to take shape in this state and beyond, particularly with the growing protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, which has led to protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota and numerous arrests of protesters, drawing outrage and condemnation from folks around the country.

Meanwhile, the Crowe & Dunlevy security official told the increasingly rain-soaked group that "the cops are on their way." 

But Mother Nature, being what she is, had other plans. And the happy-but-wet group quickly crossed the rainy downtown streets and into the September afternoon, just as Oklahoma City's finest pulled up.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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