Indiana June 24- Resistance to I-69 has been rapidly heating up in the past month. While the first protest camp set up was quietly evicted in early May, a tree-sit and occupation created in the path of a proposed onramp later that month lasted five weeks.
During that time, participants also built an elaborate ground camp, while simultaneously carrying on intensive organizing with local families threated by the road, culminating in a community picnic in Oakland City attended jointly by landowners and eco-activists. Exciting demonstrations and solidarity actions happened throughout the month - in Bloomington, Louisville, Maryland, and beyond.
Dubbed B-Rad Camp (after Brad Will, an Earth First!er and Indymedia journalist murdered by the Mexican state), the occupation was evicted last Friday, June 20. Five people were arrested around the camp, with the two treesitters being exposed to extreme danger and brutality by the state climbers. Three additional protesters were arrested at a police checkpoint on their way to support those facing eviction.
Solidarity actions were launched almost immediately, and one person was arrested that afternoon at an I-69 planning office in Bloomington. Since then, demos have been called across Indiana, at offices belonging to the Indiana Department of Transportation, contractors, and the Department of Natural Resources, who were responsible for lending climbers to INDOT. Nearly 100 people joined a torch march in Bloomington the following night, leading police to scramble to protect the downtown planning office while people chanted, drummed and shot off fireworks.
A few chants from this demo and others: "They wreck dreams - we wreck roads" "I-69 Shut it down, drive INDOT out of town" "No more roads, no more jails" and "Solidarity means attack - against the road we will fight back" and at the end of the torch march "We will win!"
Since then, local organizers have worked to put together legal support for those now facing charges (none extremely serious), while others have continued to act in response to the eviction. A militant office invasion against Bernardin Lochmueller and Associates (a deeply complicit contractor) in Evansville today ended in confrontations with managers and broken windows.
This account is only a brief summary of some of the more visible actions that have occurred in the past weeks against I-69. Meanwhile, many people have continued with other kinds of exciting opposition efforts, including the Roadblock Report (available on the website), the I-69 Listening Project (a push to create more space to dialogue and share stories across the spectrum of farmers and others resisting), and gardening with landowners along the route, among other experiments to spread and deepen the struggle.
More details and pictures can be found at
www.stopi69.wordpress.com . Pictures at http://stopi69.wordpress.com/photos/