New Yorkers gathered in Columbus Circle in New York Tuesday night after President Trump signed executive orders to revive the Dakota Access (DAPL) and Keystone XL oil pipelines.
Both projects had been previously blocked by former President Barack Obama, who ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform another Environmental Impact Statement for the DAPL in December last year.
Although the NoDAPL NoKXL NYC Rapid Response rally was organized at short notice, about a thousand protesters convened at the International Trump Hotel to hear speeches from organizers and Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
The group then marched to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue chanting “water is life” and “you can’t drink oil” but was not allowed to pass through the security barriers. Instead the march headed to Times Square accompanied by a heavy police presence.
“Today the predator-in-chief issued an executive orders calling for completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to reopen the Keystone XL pipeline,” said actress Jane Fonda, speaking at the rally. “He does this illegally because he has not gotten consent from tribes whose country this goes through and the US has agreed to treaties to get the agreement of the indigenous people who live there. They are fighting not just for their own lands but for the drinking water of 17 million people downstream of the Missouri river,” she said.
Meanwhile, Josh Fox, film director and playwright, called for a peaceful revolution.
“We have peace, we have love, we have prayer, we have non-violence, we have each other, we have organizing. Those are our tools. We have compassion, we have democracy, we have community, we have resilience, we have innovation, we have courage and we have each other’s backs. This system knows very well how to deal with violence, more violence, but in the words of John Lennon, what they cannot deal with is an organized group of people that are standing in their way,” Fox said.
Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe led prayer circles and songs, and also called for a peaceful resistance against Trump.
While the president’s executive orders may have revived the projects, they are not necessarily a green-light as each will have to be approved by numerous federal agencies.