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Blockader Locks to Underground Capsule to Protect a Family Farm

UPDATE: OCTOBER 2nd, 10:00AM- Alejandro Released!

Alejandro de la Torre has been released from Wood County Jail. When more information becomes available we will update. For now, check out what Alejandro said before he was arrested on our blog.

UPDATE: OCTOBER 2nd, 9:00AM – Alejandro’s Bail Set at $10,000

Yesterday Houston resident Alejandro de la Torre delayed Keystone XL clear cutting operations on a family farm outside Winnsboro, Texas for almost an entire day. De la Torre locked himself to an underground capsule in the pathway of Keystone XL to protect the farm, saying simply that “I’m here to stand up for people on the front lines because they’re being trampled to make way for corporate profits.” After the Wood County Sheriff Department confiscated peaceful observers’ cameras they arrested him for his courageous action.

De la Torre is currently being held on trumped up charges and a bail set at $10,000, an outrageous sum for a nonviolent peaceful protester. As a supporter of Alejandro and the blockade please demonstrate your support with a generous donation to his bail. 

UPDATE: 8:00PM – Excellent Coverage From KLTV Channel 7 – Tyler

KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

UPDATE: 6:00PM – Read Alejandro’s Story of How His Passion For Environmental Justice Motivates Him

“I’m willing to risk arrest because I have a certain amount of personal privilege that allows me to participate. I don’t live near a Gulf refinery, or on land that’s at risk from a devastating tar sands spill, so I’m able to play a small part in an action that will really help people’s lives.  I’m here to stand up for people on the front lines because they’re being trampled to make way for corporate profits.

I’m sick of seeing these devastating affects on a personal and community level and on a grand global scale in which corporations and their profits call all the shots.”

Read more of Alejandro’s story here.

UPDATE: 4:00PM – Bulldozer Has Moved in to Level More of the Family Farm 

After being delayed almost an entire work-day by Alejandro’s actions Keystone XL construction crews quickly moved in with machinery to get in at least one hour of work bulldozing a local landowners beloved family farm before the end of the work day.

To permanently stop this toxic pipeline we need more people to join us. Sign up to attend our Direct Action Training Oct. 12-14th.

UPDATE: 3:45PM – Alejandro Has Been Arrested For Helping Save a Family Farm From Keystone XL

After delaying construction for almost an entire day Alejandro has been extracted from the underground capsule and arrested. Through his brave actions he was able to bring to light the disrespect that local landowners have suffered at the hands of TransCanada’s eminent domain abuse and trampling of landowner rights.

Support Alejandro’s legal fees with a generous donation.

UPDATE: 3:00PM – Police Chiseling Away at the Underground Capsule That Alejandro is Locked Into 

UPDATE: 1:25PM – Police Put a Screen Around Alejandro So Observers Can’t Watch and Protect Him

Since the police stole our main camera right now we only have photo of the screen taken far away with a cell phone camera. A backup photographer arrived on the scene later and took high definition photos that we’ll upload on our flickr stream tonight.

UPDATE: 1:15PM – Police Attach Hand-Cuffs to Alejandro’s Ankles – Undeterred He Holds Strong

UPDATE: 1:00PM – Police Steal Camera From Observers Standing Nearby on Private Property

After the the torture tactics used on our blockaders last week at the encouragement of TransCanada supervisors we’ve made ever effort to ensure we have observers on the scene carefully watching with a video camera. Observers were standing nearby on private property when police confiscated their camera! Fortunately, TV crews are arriving on the scene and hopefully they wouldn’t be subjected to this same obstruction of civil liberties.

UPDATE: 11:30AM – Fire and Rescue Crews Arrive With More Plain Clothes Police

UPDATE: 11:00AM – Police Baffled About How to Respond – TransCanada Helicopter Circling Overhead

UPDATE: 10:30AM – TransCanada Workers Bringing Shovels and Threatening to Dig Alejandro Out

UPDATE: 9:30AM – Police Arrive and Begin to Calmly Access the Situation 
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WINNSBORO, TEXAS – Monday, October 1, 2012 8:00AM –
A Tar Sands Blockade protester has stopped the destruction of a small family farm in East Texas by locking himself in front of oncoming Keystone XL clearing equipment. Houston resident, Alejandro de la Torre, 28, is taking action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from destroying the home of yet another Texas family threatened by TransCanada’s poisonous tar sands slurry.

In a powerful display of conviction, De la Torre locked his arm into a concrete capsule buried directly in the proposed path of the toxic pipeline. This courageous act is preventing TransCanada’s unwelcomed onslaught of machines from devastating property captured through eminent domain abuse. Follow live updates on facebook and twitter.

“I was raised in New Orleans, so I’ve seen how local communities suffer at the hands of multinational corporations,” attests de la Torre. “I’m willing to risk arrest today to stop this tar sands pipeline because I have the privilege to help protect the safety of those most affected. Keystone XL endangers the health and safety of everyone from the landowners and their families now threatened by cancer causing leaks, to the refinery communities in Houston that have to breathe the dirty air, as well as people of color around the world who are disproportionately affected by climate change.”

Below is a previously recorded video of the landowner, Susan Scott whose land stands to be clear-cut today, confronting TransCanada’s surveyors.

In a separate protest just miles away on the other side of Winnsboro, Tar Sands Blockade’s aerial tree protest enters into its second week. Sitters in platforms nearly 100 feet in the air are not deterred by reckless behavior on the part of TransCanada’s work crews. Despite repeated warning of the dangers on the part of the protesters, the company is encouraging the use of dangerous tree clearing equipment within feet of protesters’ trees, endangering their lives.

Today’s blockade comes less than a week after TransCanada supervisors encouraged law enforcement to brutalize two peaceful protesters who were acting in defense of the largest tree blockade in Texas history. One of the abused protesters, Benjamin Franklin, explained why peaceful civil disobedience must continue despite the violence orchestrated by TransCanada, “I encourage everyone to persevere in the face of this type of sheer brutality. To follow one’s moral compass in spite of extreme challenges is the way we move forward towards a more humane, tar sands-free planet.”

 “TransCanada doesn’t have any local community ties, it lies about the safety of its pipeline because it cares more about money than about people,” claims Ron Seifert, spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade.  “If this multinational corporation had any compassion for East Texan’s homes, it would respect our constitutionally protected property rights instead of condemning the land and using it for its own private gain.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/7th-action/