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Arrests in Keystone protest at White House

Feb. 13, 2013 at 3:54 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Police in Washington arrested 48 people who handcuffed themselves to a White House gate Wednesday in a demonstration against the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Protesters chanted, "Hey, Obama, we don't want no climate drama" as they urged President Barack Obama to reject plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would extend a pipeline system that distributes oil from Alberta, Canada, to U.S. locations including Oklahoma, Illinois and the Texas Gulf Coast.

Sierra Club President Allison Chin was among those arrested, as she led members in a protest for the first time in the organization's history, ABC News reported.

"Our goal today is to both challenge and support President Obama," Chin wrote on her Sierra Club blog Wednesday. "During last night's State of the Union, we applauded when spoke about the need for action on climate disruption 'before it's too late.' We couldn't agree more that the time to act is now."

Chin said the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline "would enable extraction of some of the dirtiest oil on the planet."

Chin said the Sierra Club was suspending its longtime policy against civil disobedience in "a one-time event to face arrest in order to elevate discussion about a critical issue."

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org -- which says it is organizing "a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis" -- said in a speech before the protest the Keystone Pipeline "has become the purest test that there's ever been on whether the president is serious about doing something about climate change or not," The Hill reported.

McKibben was arrested, along with former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and actress Daryl Hannah, The Hill said.

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