Robert Kennedy Jr., actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and dozens of other activists attached themselves to the White House gates Wednesday in the latest attention-getting protest against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Police arrested 48 protesters, who notably included Sierra Club President Allison Chin and Executive Director Michael Brune. That made Wednesday’s event the first officially sanctioned act of civil disobedience allowed in the environmental group’s 120-year history.
Activists said it showed that the protests against the Keystone pipeline have come a long way. The Canada-to-Texas protests also sponsored mass sit-ins and arrests outside the White House in late 2011, shortly before the Obama administration postponed a decision on the pipeline until after the presidential election.
“This is our lunch counter moment for the 21st century,” the Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus told the crowd of protesters and reporters in Lafayette Square. “This pipeline is our Birmingham.”