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October 21. 2013 1:42PM

UPDATED: Five protestors arrested at Irving office in Portsmouth


This photograph from the website of the Trans and Womyn's Action Camp shows protestors bound together in the office of Irving Oil in Portsmouth Monday morning. 


ANNE ST. AMAND 


EMILY CLAIRE JENKINS 


CHRISTINE BAGLIERI 


SARA MOSCOSO 


CHRISTINE BUCHANAN 

PORTSMOUTH - Five activists protesting shale gas exploration in Canada were arrested Monday morning after refusing to leave the local corporate offices of Irving Oil Corp.
Police responded to Irving's office at 190 Commerce Way just before 11 a.m. after the company called to report the activists were on the property and had made their way inside the building.
Police said about 20 people entered the Irving building and refused to leave when asked by management. They caused a disturbance by throwing glitter and other items inside the building and blowing whistles, police said.
Four of the activists locked themselves together by placing their arms in a steel pipe and chaining them to a bar inside, according to Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonald
The four attached to the pipe contraption remained seated in a circle on the floor in the lobby area.
The first person was arrested when officers asked the group to leave and they refused.
After the first arrest, police said the rest of the activists left, with the exception of the four connected to the piping.
When they refused to remove the piping after officers attempted to negotiate with them, police said they were carried out of the building to a bus which was brought in to accommodate the four people joined together. The Portsmouth Fire Department was also sent to the station to attempt to remove the pipes.
MacDonald said police were concerned about moving them after some refused to stand up, but that police had no choice but to pick them up by their arms and remove them.
MacDonald said police are used to protestors making their voices heard, which is their constitutional right, but this was different because they interfered with Irving's business.
"This was really above and beyond. They took over and they stopped this business. They made quite a mess out there," he said.
No one was injured in the protest, which caught police by surprise.
"There was no heads-up to us," police Lt. Mark Newport said.
The activists were from a group known as the Trans and/or Womyn's Action camp (TWAC).
The group issued a statement on its blog stating that dozens of activists were occupying Irving's Portsmouth office to present demands to company officials as part of an anti-fracking movement in New Brunswick, Canada.
Fracking is a method used for extracting natural gas.
"Ten activists are 'locked down' using a combination of lock boxes and u-lock kryptonite bike locks. These activists will occupy the office until demands are met or they are forcibly removed," the group said in its statement.
The group said the protest was in solidarity with the Mi'kmaq First Nation's current road blockade in Elsipogtog, a protest in New Brunswick against fracking exploration by SWN Resources Canada.
The group said the exploration is "currently taking place on their traditional lands without their consent."
In its statement, the group claims Irving "supports fracking exploration on First Nations' land by allowing SWN Resources to store their equipment in an Irving-owned compound, and reports state that natural gas that comes off of Elsipogtog land would go to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick."
An Irving spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment on the incident.
Those arrested were Anne St. Amand, 26, of 9 Anderson St., Portland, Maine, on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief; Emily Claire Jenkins, 26, of 3119 Eanes Circle, Austin, Texas, on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest or detention; Christine Baglieri, 26, of 273 Manchester Road, Belgrade, Maine, on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest or detention; and Sara Moscoso, 26, of 3 Pine Road, Belmont, Maine, on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest or detention; and Christine E. Buchanan, 31, of 273 Manchester Road, Belgrade, Maine, on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and resisting arrest or detention.
The women were released on personal recognizance bail and are due in court Dec. 16.
Previous story follows:
PORTSMOUTH — As many as a dozen activists protesting shale gas exploration in Canada were arrested this morning after refusing to leave the local headquarters of Irving Oil Corp.

Police responded to Irving's office at 190 Commerce Way around 11 a.m. after the company called to report the activists were on the property, and some had made their way inside the building and refused to leave.

Police Lt. Mark Newport said he didn't know the exact number of people arrested for trespassing, but be believed it was between 12 and 15.

Four of the activists inside the building were attached together by a "metal mechanism," Newport said.

"They went into the building and refused to leave until corporate was willing to speak to them," Newport said.

No one was injured in the protest, which caught police by surprise.

"There was no heads-up to us," said Newport, who described the protest as "passive resistance."

The protesters were from a group known as the Trans and/or Women's Action Camp (TWAC).

The group issued a statement on its blog stating that dozens of activists were occupying Irving's Portsmouth office to present demands to company officials as part of an anti-fracking movement in New Brunswick, Canada.

Fracking is a method used for extracting natural gas.

"Ten activists are 'locked down' using a combination of lock boxes and u-lock kryptonite bike locks. These activists will occupy the office until demands are met or they are forcibly removed," the group said in its statement.

The group said the protest was in solidarity with the Mi'kmaq First Nation's current road blockade in Elsipogtog, a protest in New Brunswick against fracking exploration by SWN Resources Canada.

The group said the exploration is "currently taking place on their traditional lands without their consent."

In its statement, the group claims Irving "supports fracking exploration on First Nations' land by allowing SWN Resources to store their equipment in an Irving-owned compound, and reports state that natural gas that comes off of Elsipogtog land would go to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick."

An Irving spokesman could not be reached for comment.

jschreiber@newstote.com



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