Protesters Arrested at Tar Sands Site

Screen-Shot-2014-07-21-at-3_42_38-PM_jpg-600x330(Vernal-Moab)Twenty-one activists were arrested Monday during a “blockade” of a tar sands company’s construction equipment in eastern Utah, according to anti-tar sands groups who accused Uintah County sheriff’s deputies of “brutality.” The Sheriff’s Office declined to confirm the arrests Monday afternoon, except to say that all of its available deputies were at the site about 50 miles south of Vernal. By Monday night, the Sheriff’s Office still had not commented on the arrests. Beginning at 6 a.m., 80 protesters associated with Utah Tar Sands Resistance physically blocked access to the equipment being stored off Pope Well Ridge Road, near where U.S. Oil Sands is beginning work on Utah’s first commercial fuel-producing tar sands mine at PR Springs. Several protesters entered a fenced enclosure and locked themselves to equipment, according to protester spokeswoman Jessica Lee. Deputies arrested 13 Monday morning, loading them into white county vans, according to activists’ posts on Twitter and Facebook.

Those who were not immediately arrested remained on nearby Seep Ridge Road to “[make] sure that our comrades are not going to be abused by the police and make sure that they are being treated fairly,” Lee told a reporter.

Another six were arrested while blocking the road and demanding their friends’ release, according to the Facebook post by Peaceful Uprising, and late Monday afternoon, Utah Tar Sands Resistance tweeted that two more were arrested outside the Uintah County Jail, bringing the total number of arrests to 21.

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