Protesters urge John Kerry to address Keystone Pipeline

Protesters urge John Kerry to address Keystone Pipeline

AU students hold up a sign saying “Kerry: Stop K.XL” outside the School of International Service Building near the intersection between Nebraska Avenue and New Mexico Avenue.

About 20 AU students protested the Keystone Pipeline outside the School of International Service Building Nov. 21 in a push for Secretary of State John Kerry to not expand it.

Holding banners, signs and a replica pipeline, the protesters stood next to the East Quad Building chanting “John Kerry yes you can! Stop the dirty pipeline plan” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Keystone pipeline’s got to go.” They waited for Kerry to make a speech as part of the 100,000 Strong Foundation.

However, Kerry did not attend the planned event, The Eagle previously reported.

The Keystone Pipeline is currently in place in Texas. The students said they protested the pipeline because it is linked to multiple health concerns and environmental issues.

“And our presence directly out there shows a passion on the issue and the fact that [Kerry] should take a stand and say no,” said SIS junior Carlo Chavarria, who participated in the protest.

College of Arts and Sciences senior Paige McNamara, who also protested the pipeline, is from Texas where the pipeline currently is installed. There are higher rates of cancer in the cities around the pipeline, and her dad died of cancer that she said was caused by toxins from the pipeline.

“He had three different bouts of cancer, [and] he died this February, and I believe that his cancer, his repeated bouts of cancer, all the cancers I witnessed in friends and family are related to the oil industry and Houston’s notoriously bad air,” she said.

Protesters waited for John Kerry to arrive on the sidewalks outside SIS at 3 p.m., holding up signs with “Stop Keystone XL,” “Obama/Biden Save Your Children, Stop Killer Tar Sands Oil Pipeline” and “Kerry Stop XL.” As cars passed, they hollered and waved signs hoping to grab drivers’ attention.

About 40 minutes into the protest a motorcade drove up, causing protesters to begin chanting and waving signs. They then proceeded to move closer to the SIS building, but were blocked by Public Safety and other law enforcement officers.

A student protester and what appeared to be a security official got into a brief altercation while the protesters were walking to the quad.

Once at the quad, the protesters began chanting in the direction of the building.

“I hope that AU students will become more knowledgeable about the issue of the Keystone pipeline, the importance of taking action now on it,” Chavarria said, “[We need to get] Secretary Kerry to understand that a majority of us believe it that he should say no to the pipeline for a multitude of reasons and our direct presence is a symbol of that.”

Check out ATV coverage of the protest as well.

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