20 Arrested in a Creative Display of Resistance
Loggers were greeted in the pre-dawn mist at the mouth of the Green Bridge on the Illinois River by a trio of women in yoga poses and drumming, singing people swaying and dancing.
Over 100 people gathered to witness the Women's Blockade Monday morning. Twenty women were arrested in a diverse array of tactics that halted logging operations in the Fiddler timber sale for nearly seven hours.
As police gave the order to disperse, the first group melted away to witness and support the women holding the line on the Green Bridge. An altar stood before them - fallen cedar branches, glowing candles, serpentine rock cairns and a carved wooden goddess figure. Directly behind the altar sat the elders, surrounding Stacey Williams, whose baby is due to be born later this week. Standing strong in the back row, black-clad women sang and rested their hands on the shoulders of the grandmothers. Prayer flags fluttered and a Bald Eagle soared overhead as the women cast their gazes to the sky and howled.
Behind the line of women, stretched a safety rope, which secured a pod suspended from the bridge. Perched upon the pod was a young woman, smiling and singing along with her sisters above.
Law enforcement moved in, carrying grandmothers and young women to the paddy wagon; just doing their job to open the road to forest destruction. Every woman holding the bridge was arrested, except the pregnant woman and her midwife, who were cited and released.
Several hours passed as officers tried to figure out removal of the pod obstruction and the woman swaying above the blue-green waters of the Illinois. Stymied, they finally called in Search and Rescue teams.
Meanwhile, five miles up the mountain, three women locked-down to each other in a pivotal support role. This little blockade prevented the security guard from driving down to transport loggers up to the units. A bulldozer cleared impromptu rock walls from the roadway, and sheriffs descended upon the women. About ten deputies lifted the women and carried them to the side of the road, opening it to loggers. Still the women held fast and forced deputies to cut them out of their lock boxes.
The paddy wagon turned the bend toward the Green Bridge as we got word of the closure. Supporters hooted and cheered as they drove by.
The on-the-ground campaign to save Fiddler Mountain is one week old; 42 people have been arrested. Resistance continues and a tree-sit is in place in unit seven.