Two Freelance Journalists Arrested While Reporting on Tree Blockade (Day16)

UPDATE OCT 10th, 2:30PM – All Press Have Left the Tree Blockade 

UPDATE OCT 10th, 2:00PM – Police Are Denying All Press Access to the Tree Blockade

Police working as hired thugs for TransCanada have effectively sealed off all press access to the tree blockade. After two more journalists were detained and handcuffed for standing on nearby private property the police moved the tape demarcating the Keystone XL easement line back 60 feet. TransCanada’s thugs have now claimed nearby private property as their own and are denying free press access to observe and report on the tree blockade.

UPDATE OCT 10th, 1:50PM – The Two Detained Journalists Have Been Released

After police arrested two freelance journalists, Lorenzo and Elizabeth, yesterday and made them spend the night in jail, they had the audacity to put two more journalists in handcuffs today. They detained the two journalists from a major media outlet that wishes to remain anonymous at this time, for several minutes before releasing them. While they had them in handcuffs TransCanada’s hired thugs made a phone call, presumably to higher ups, and then released them.

They were handcuffed by an officer who initially said he was not a “TransCanada police officer” but then proceeded to put journalists in handcuffs. The detaining officer refused to provide identification. 

UPDATE OCT 10th, 1:45PM – Two Journalists Have Been Detained and Placed in Handcuffs

UPDATE OCT 10th, 1:30PM – TransCanada’s Hired Thugs Handcuff Another Journalist!

Another reporter has been handcuffed at the tree blockade while observing from nearby private property. Today TransCanada’s disregard for constitutional rights sinks to a whole new low. Local police acting as hired thugs for this multi-national corporation have handcuffed a reporter from a major media outlet.

Local police from surrounding counties are getting paid $30 an hour by TransCanada to operate a police state at the tree blockade with 24/7 surveillance, floodlights, and orders to arrest without question. Senior officers have told us that their “mandate from TransCanada is to arrest anyone who sets foot” on the Keystone XL pipeline easement. Apparently that also applies to anyone who even comes close enough to set eyes on the easement. Never mind that they are from the press and have a first amendment right to report on this repression.

UPDATE OCT 10th, 11:45AM – Both Elizabeth and Lorenzo Have Been Released  — Charges Dropped!

Elizabeth and Lorenzo have been released and TransCanada has decided to drop the charges because they are press. I guess TransCanada’s high dollar PR team had enough sense to drop the charges after the uproar on social media in response to the arrests of two freelance journalists. Thanks to everyone who responded!

However, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department has yet to return the camera they confiscated from peaceful observers at an action last week. _______

UPDATE 7:45PM – Elizabeth and Lorenzo Have Both Been Arrested – Contribute to Their Bail

Support Elizabeth and Lorenzo for bringing you live stream coverage of the tree blockade. Make a generous donation to their bail. 

UPDATE 7:30PM – Lorenzo Has Been Arrested

Lorenzo, a freelance journalist, has been arrested while attempting to cover the tree blockade story.  “I’m a journalist!” he proclaimed as the cuffs were being put on by camouflaged police that have laid siege to the tree blockade.

UPDATE 7:20PM – Lorenzo Attempting to Safely Descend 

UPDATE 7:18PM – Elizabeth Has Been Arrested

UPDATE 7:13PM – Two Freelance Journalists Attempt to Descend From Timber Scaffolding 

A week ago freelance journalists, Elizabeth Arce and Lorenzo Serna, climbed up the timber scaffolding at the tree blockade to help document the story. We just got word that they are attempting to safely come down.

Hearing about TransCanada’s active encouragement of torture tactics and operating heavy machinery dangerously close to peaceful blockaders they came to help bring this struggle to a broader audience. They often help document social movements and use the watchful eye of their cameras to help protect peaceful protestors from brutality.

Elizabeth and Lorenzo are pioneers of New Media platforms and expand what is possible in the world of live streaming and New Journalism. They hope to create a new interactive form of Journalism that brings together the journalist on the ground and the viewers collaborating in real time. Elizabeth’s live stream can be found here, and  Lorenzo’s here.

They were able to live stream the first several days of the action before TransCanada and the police placed the tree blockade under siege. They completely sealed off the perimeter and made it nearly impossible for anyone to safely set foot on the ground. Afraid of facing trumped up felony charges Elizabeth and Lorenzo made a difficult decision to remain on the scaffolding and keep their cameras streaming to protect peaceful protestors from being met with further repression.

UPDATE 7:00PM – Four Camouflaged Police Officers Surround the Timber Scaffolding

Media affiliates are on the site off the the designated Keystone XL easement to observe.

Watch this terrifying footage taken last week from a blockader filming in a hanging platform as TransCanada’s heavy machinery cuts dangerously close to our friends on the timber scaffolding. The clear-cutting machines devour trees and drop them to the ground with an alarming disregard for federal safety regulations and peaceful protestors nearby.

TransCanada and the police have continued to tighten their grip on the tree blockade as it enters its 17th day. Blockaders on the timber scaffolding and in the trees are reporting conditions of sleep deprivation as they attempt to catch some shut eye under the massive floodlights TransCanada keeps aimed at them all night long. The normal melodic chirps and croaks of frogs and insects are now drowned out by the noisy diesel generators that grind relentlessly through the normally serene forest nights. Dozens of TransCanada workers and camouflaged police swarm the ground below maintaining a constant 24-7 surveillance of tree blockaders and film their every move. For all intents and purposes our peaceful forrest has become an occupied police state. Supply lines have been cut, literally, as police have severed ropes used to get much needed food and water to our friends in the trees.

Despite these almost insurmountable challenges tree blockaders remain ever more resolved to hold their ground and defend our homes from this toxic pipeline. Their dreams of how their actions will inspire a growing movement of resistance to fossil fuel extraction is giving them the strength to continue the struggle.

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