Greenpeace Activists Unfurl Massive ‘Resist’ Banner Near White House

The move was in solidarity with Native American tribes and activists the day after President Trump signed executive actions advancing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, says Greenpeace media officer Cassady Craighill

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Story Transcript

JAISAL NOOR: Protestors from the environmental group Greenpeace, tethered themselves to a giant construction crane in Washington, D.C., next to the White House, and unfurled a giant protest banner that reads, “Resist” the day after thousands took to the streets across the country against President Donald Trump’s move to order the resumption of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Trump has said he has divested his holdings of the North Dakota pipeline project, but has offered no evidence he has done so.

We reached Greenpeace Media Officer, Cassady Craighill, who was at the site of the action, the South Lawn of the White House.

CASSADY CRAIGHILL: I am on the South Lawn of the White House. I am looking up at the White House, and behind it is a huge banner, 30 by 70 feet, banner, that says the word “Resist” on it. I don’t think that there could possibly be a time that was more urgent than now. Trump has been in the White House less than a week, and like he mentioned, he has already taken steps to advance construction of the Dakota and Keystone pipelines, which public outcry halted under the Obama administration. He’s issued gag orders on the Department of Agriculture, and the EPA. He has signed executive orders that would infringe on other social… excuse me, civil rights.

So, now feels like the time for people to know that there are other people out there, who are willing to take bold action, to stop this administration from moving this country backwards. So, we felt like there was no time better than now, when people may be feeling a, sort of, new wave of despair after he has taken office. And we felt like it was important to send this message now, to all those people who may be feeling like that, and let them know that we are with them, and we want to join them in this movement to resist Trump.

I do… I do, want to add something specifically about this president — and why people feel so ready to take this sort of action — and really it comes to the fact that this man is not like us. This president will never know what it feels like to worry about the water his family is drinking. To wonder if his house will survive the next super storm, or if his child will face hateful bullying and hate crimes at school.

And so, it’s up to all of us to take this action and protect each other. Fight for each other, and resist the ways in which Donald Trump is threatening everything that is great, and just, about America.

JAISAL NOOR: This is our full report from correspondent David Dougherty, who covered the pipeline protest in Washington on Tuesday.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: On Tuesday, January 24th, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across the United States to protest President Donald Trump’s signing of a series of executive memorandums, seeking to resume and advance the construction of the previously suspended Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline projects.

In Washington, D.C., demonstrators gathered at sunset before the White House. In the shadow of the security gates, and crowd stands, of the presidential inauguration that took place just days earlier.

CROWD: … We stand up with Standing Rock, city by city, block by block, we stand up with Standing Rock, city by city, block by block, we stand up with Standing Rock…

DAVID DOUGHERTY: I’m David Dougherty with The Real News Network. We’re here in Washington, D.C., in front of the White House — where hundreds of demonstrators have gathered to protest the executive pipeline orders — signed by President Donald Trump this morning. Let’s hear from some of the voices on the ground.

JADE BEGAY: What happened today is an attack on our communities. It’s an attack on our homes, and so we’re here. We’re showing up at his home, at Trump’s home, to say we’re going to come. We’re going to continue to show up at your space, in your spaces, and share our message and demand that you see us, that you hear us.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: Months of sustained protests, in what became the largest mobilization of indigenous North Americans in over a century, resulted in the Dakota Access Pipeline Project being temporarily halted by the administration of former President Barack Obama, who also blocked the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

President Trump’s memorandums are expected to reverse those decisions, and give a green light to resume the construction of both projects.

PAUL GRIJALVA: This represents many things. It represents a level of abuse, and it represents a renewal by indigenous people in this country, to say we’re standing up for ourselves. We want to protect what’s ours, we want to protect the generations to come, and we want to protect our water, and the resources that made us who we are.

CROWD: (applause, cheering)

ERYN WISE: I told President Obama that I would keep coming back for him, right? I told him that until he stood for the youth that he promised life to, that I would keep coming back. And now I’m here to make that same promise to Donald Trump.

CROWD: (applause, cheering)

DAVID DOUGHERTY: Eryn Wise of the International Indigenous Youth Council says she is resisting President Trump’s memorandums, and the pipeline projects, because of what she describes as a continuation of centuries of abuse of indigenous people by the United States government.

ERYN WISE: I think that him signing the executive orders for Keystone KXL and for the Dakota Access is a continuation of genocide, because he is currently still trying to silence indigenous peoples, right? And he poisons our water, our children are sick, our people are sick. They can’t withstand… right? It’s… I mean, these pipelines are the smallpox blankets that the United States gave to us, right? We’ve only been allowed so much. We’ve only been allowed to live so long.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: Demonstrators like Sarah Prados, worried about the impacts of the projects on both indigenous communities and the environment in the United States.

CROWD: (inaudible)

SARAH PRADOS: I am terrified that this is going to escalate to a genocide of the Native American people. We’ve seen the devastation of multiple pipelines in the last few months and it’s mortifying. They’re destroying our rivers and our ecosystems; they’re killing our animals. We need to stand up and say something, or the government and Trump, is going to just absolutely decimate our country.

DAVID DOUGHERTY: Protests were reported in dozens of cities across the United States, as a multitude of social movements have vowed to step up sustained opposition to key aspects of President Trump’s political project.

Reporting from Washington, D.C., I’m David Dougherty with The Real News Network.

CROWD: (chanting) …

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