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The morning of
Now, she was ready to be arrested. So many would join her that she needed to be unencumbered, so she wouldn't hold up the processing line. Wicks, former owner of the
Organizers termed it "the largest environmental civil disobedience in decades."
Experts predict more such protests. They say the nation is entering an era of environmental civil disobedience rivaling that of the 1970s.
It may also signal a larger discontent. Since
In the environmental realm, frustrations have long been more focused.
In recent months, eight activists climbed the smoke stack at
They flew a red "airship" _ similar to a hot-air balloon _ over the
For over a year, the
Last month, about 25 members held a mock trial in the lobby of PNC's regional headquarters on
"I would expect it to continue and accelerate," said
He and others were arrested in an Earth Quaker action last year in
Even so, Earth Quaker organizer
A bank spokesman dismissed "these rare events" as having any effect. But last November, the bank announced measures to lessen its funding of companies that use mountaintop mining.
Like many other acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, the PNC actions and the
Demonstrators often attend training sessions. While terrorism fears may up the tension, everyone knows the drill.
When Wicks was in
Nonviolent civil disobedience is as old as Thoreau. It played a crucial role in the civil rights movement, the labor movement and the women's suffrage movement.
For more than 35 years, peace activists have regularly protested against weapons maker
Generally, those involved in the environmental movement say that the activism of the 1970s was followed by a tamer period in which environmental groups focused on scientific studies, lobbying, public education, political action, and lawsuits.
But now _ as in the 1970s _ optimism followed by frustration may be fueling more dramatic action.
But the climate-change conference in
"That's when people do civil disobedience, when conventional avenues are blocked," Lakey said.
He also thinks protesters may be getting inspiration from the citizen action in
Organizers keep stressing nonviolence. But in the past, events have escalated.
In June, in a federal court in
He was labeled a terrorist, a term his supporters reject, and in 2005 was sentenced to seven years in prison.
While some portrayed the Keystone protests in
"I think it's one of the most patriotic things you can do," Wicks said.
Also arrested were
Keystone organizer, author and activist
Last month, during a natural-gas industry conference in
The next day came strategy sessions, including one called "When Marching Isn't Enough." It was about direct action, a term that includes civil disobedience, which often refers to breaking laws.
Their answers: It raises the stakes. It says the rules of the game aren't working. It brings focus to an issue.
Next, the downsides: It's scary. If you do it too much, it loses potency. You might lose control; if someone tosses a brick through a window, you've lost the moral high ground.
"I believe direct action is healing," Hunter said. "How do we move that, shape it into a way that is effective for our issue?"
One person who has seen both eras is
In the 1980s, she was among hundreds arrested _ after lying down in front of a bulldozer _ at the site of the proposed
Now, she's focused on a new issue for the river _ natural-gas drilling. There has been a moratorium in the Delaware River basin. But the basin commission, which oversees water quantity and quality, has proposed rules. If they are adopted, drilling could proceed.
"We are using every method we possibly can" short of direct action, she said. But that may soon end. The commission has called a special meeting for
"We are inviting and encouraging people to come and protest," Carluccio said. And now, borrowing the currency of the "Occupy" movement, a Twitter feed and
So far, there have been no public plans for civil disobedience. But Carluccio said there had been talk. So the Riverkeeper is hosting a training the night before _ just to make sure everyone knows the rules. And the stakes.
Carluccio said the goal was to have "an effective, law-abiding, nonviolent event ... yet still encourage people to speak out and exercise their First Amendment rights."
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