Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF)

November 20, 2012;
Special Cherokee County Edition

November 19th started out peacefully enough. A family-friendly Stop the Tar Sands rally was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the West Park of Lake Nacogdoches. Members of NacSTOP and the community joined together to discuss their concern about Canadian tar sands and TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline that is poised to carry the dilluted tar sands bitumen through their homeland. Prior to that rally, though, another Tar Sands Blockade action had been prepared. In fact, two separate non-violent, civil disobediance actions had been set up to occur early that morning before the rally.

One took place in southern Cherokee county near the community of Wells, and involved the lockdown of two feller-bunchers being used by a Wisconsin land clearing company on the Keystone XL (Gulf Coast Project) pipeline route. The second involved a tree platform blockade of the TransCanada easement on the Cherokee County side of the Angelina River.

Unable to be in three places simultaneously, the individual credited for the photographs below spent the day at the two action sites, documenting the Blockade's activities, as well as the TransCanada and local law enforcement responses. As it turns out, most, if not all, of the mid-morning rally participants made it over to the action sites to experience the resulting dynamics.

What was perplexing to observe was that Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Department personel seemed to be leading the response on behalf of TransCananda to the Blockade's activities in Cherokee County. Once again the line separating corporate interests and governmental (of, by, and for the people?) entities from separate jurisdictions was blurred. Does anybody else have a problem with this?

Even more perplexing was the totally inapropriate reaction by the Nacogdoches County officials, working to protect the interests of a foreign, land grabbing corporation (TransCanada) in a neighboring county. Pepper spraying non-violent protestors who are simply trying to put a stop to TransCanada's transgressions by the use of civil disobediance tactics amounts to criminal and violent abuse of American citizens.

An impromtu candlelight vigil was held at the Cherokee County jail on the evening of the 20th. Rally attendees sang and voiced their support for the pepper spray victims and arrestees from the actions of the previous day.

Photos by Steven DaSilva,, all rights reserved.

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