SOLWAY, Minn. – Hundreds of protesters vowing to do whatever it takes to stop a Canadian-based company's push to replace an aging pipeline blocked a pump station Monday in northern Minnesota, with some people chaining themselves to construction equipment before police began making arrests.
Environmental and tribal groups say Enbridge Energy's plan to rebuild Line 3, which would carry Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Wisconsin, would worsen climate change and risk spills in sensitive areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, and claim treaty rights.
By evening, at least 30 people were arrested by state police and sheriff's officers, but the number "is growing rapidly,” Ashley Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for Treaty People Gathering, told The Associated Press.
None of them appeared to resist as allies chanted “We love you.” Protesters said the Treaty People Gathering was the largest show of resistance yet to the project.
The crowd showed no signs of leaving hours after an earlier protest at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, roughly 20 minutes away, where they chanted “Stop Line 3!” and “Water is life!”
“This is important. This is what we need,” actress Jane Fonda told the AP at the rally, motioning toward the crowd as she held signs with President Joe Biden’s image that said, “Which side are you on?”
She urged protesters to keep pressuring Biden to halt construction so his administration can study any harm to the environment and indigenous people. The Mississippi River is one of the water crossings for the pipeline.
Fonda said Line 3 protesters “are going to Standing Rock this place,” referring to the Dakota Access pipeline, which is owned by a different company and was the subject of major protests near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Dakotas in 2016 and 2017.