March 20, 2008
No War – No Warming – Blocking Traffic at American Petroleum Institute
The videos above show exactly how much fun it can be to interrupt the day of war profiteering oil barrons and educate the public about an occupation that we said six years ago would be blood for oil and that we say now is blood for oil.
This tongue-in-cheek press advisory preceded Wednesday’s action in front of the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C.:
American Petroleum Institute To Grant Congress Permission to Stop Funding Iraq War and Occupation
The activist group No War, No Warming today announced that they will be celebrating outside the headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute Wednesday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. The API is located at 1220 L St. NW, at the corner of 13th and L.
Activists will be celebrating the expected announcement by API that it is changing its name to the Alternative Power Institute. Its first act as the new API is anticipated to be the notification of every member of the United States House and Senate whom it has legally bribed in recent years that, in light of API’s just announced transition to promotion of renewable energy technologies, there is no further requirement to fund the occupation of Iraq.
Activists will also be distributing API tax rebate coupons to pedestrians and car drivers. The tax rebate will be partial compensation for the approximately $3800 paid by each taxpayer since 2003 for the Iraq war and federal subsidies to Big Oil.
The action at the newly-named Alternative Power Institute is one of a number of actions in Washington, D.C. on March 19th being coordinated by United for Peace and Justice (www.5yearstoomany.org).
No War, No Warming organized a nonviolent civil disobedience action on Capitol Hill last October. 68 people were arrested blockading entrances to the Cannon Office Building and Independence Avenue. (www.nowarnowarming.org).
Wednesday’s action was part of a national day of actions around the country, and an endless series of actions all over Washington, D.C.
We approached the American Petroleum Institute (API) at 8 a.m., and they already had barricades set up and numerous police and police vehicles on hand.
We proceeded to demonstrate out front, talk to pedestrians, and block the intersection for almost the next two hours, and we came back later in the day as well.
People blocked the streets several times, but the police just dragged them to the sidewalk and let them go, after which the same people would block the streets again. The police clearly wanted to avoid making arrests.
A group of bicylclists almost chained their bikes across one street, but the police stopped them before they could get both ends of the chain locked.
Eventually, the police began preventing people from crossing the south and east crosswalks, so people crossed the other two repeatedly and very slowly, with the police hurrying them along but never arresting anybody.
A lot of college students took part. People set up windmills, hung large banners, and are took green hard hats and clipboards around to poll people on behalf of Oil Addicts Anonymous.
The action at API was part of a day-long series of actions happening simultaneously around downtown DC. Protesters blocking doors at the IRS were arrested, but others blocking streets and other buildings, such as the National Archives, were not.
There were sirens and police vehicles driving in every direction around the K Street area, and police radios kept picking up reports of protests in various intersections.
A group blocked the intersection of L and 17th Streets and locked themselves together. The police cut them apart, dragged them to the side, but did not arrest them, except for one legal observer.
A March of the Dead – Black robes and White masks – began taking over the streets downtown.
Students held a dance party in the intersection of K and 14th. Nobody was arrested.
The strategy of not arresting people began backfiring on the police, because the same people were causing them new trouble throughout the day in various locations.
Hundreds of students started playing music, dancing, and taking over K Street. They headed back toward API.
Some 300 people shut down the military recruiting station on L Street.
Veterans from VFP and IVAW took the top steps of the National Archives with flags and then chained themselves to a flag pole to defend the Constitution from all enemies… domestic. Nobody was arrested.
The Grannies Peace Brigade sat down to knit stump socks for amputees in front of the Veterans Administration at H Street and Vermont Ave.
Ted Stein was jamming at top volume in McPherson Square and people were dancing for peace.
Over at the White House a crowd gathered. Vets for Peace et al marched through and headed to the VA where the Grannies were knitting. Some of these vets had done everything to get arrested at the Archives but weren’t arrested. So, now they were marching through streets carrying flags.
Somewhere Bob Dylan sang “A hard rain’s a gonna fall,” and it did.