A second protest site that had sprung up on the Virginia side of Peters Mountain was broken up Wednesday afternoon, leaving only a single protestor high up a wooden pole in the middle of a Jefferson National Forest access road.
According to the Appalachian Against Pipelines Facebook page, a large contingent of law enforcement, including Virginia State Police, U.S Forest Service officials and U.S Marshals, arrived at the protest location at approximately 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and arrested protest ground support members, as well as making the general protest supporters gathered at the location disperse.
Earlier in the day, protestors had installed a blockade across the access road.
The news release said that the blockade would prevent state and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) workers from accessing the location of protesting tree-sitters in West Virginia and prevent the construction of a seven-mile-long road to the site of a proposed borehole near the summit of the mountain.
The blockade included a 50-foot-tall log installed in the middle of the access road with a single protester near its top.
"As I remember the local support the tree sits have received, and all the people already standing up against the destruction of their land and water along the MVP and ACP routes, I know we can be a strong force for a world without these pipelines,” the log-top protestor stated in a news release. "The flames of resistance are catching and they will spread."
Along with the log-sitter, a group of supporters also gathered at the protest site.
“Ordinary citizens, who for decades have sounded the alarm on threats to water, health, and individual rights from resource extraction, might finally be heard as a result of [these actions]," said Russell Chisholm of Newport, Va., in the release. "By showing up to bear witness to the power of direct action non-violence in the face of chainsaws, the people might bring an end to fossil fuel sacrifice zones in Appalachia and around the globe.”
The new protest follows a denial of an injunction against the tree-sitters last week by Monroe and Summers County Circuit Court Judge Robert Irons.
With a March 31 deadline for MVP to cut trees inside the forest looming, protest supporters fear that a last-minute attempt to remove the tree-sitters is possible.
The tree-sitters on the West Virginia slope of Peters Mountain remain in place.
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