UPDATE 1-Hundreds of Keystone protesters arrested at White House

Sun Mar 2, 2014 7:57pm EST
 
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By Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - Police arrested hundreds of young people protesting the Keystone XL project on Sunday, as demonstrators fastened themselves with plastic ties to the White House fences and called for U.S. President Barack Obama to reject the controversial oil pipeline.

Participants, who mostly appeared to be college-aged, held signs reading: "There is no planet B" and "Columbia says no to fossil fuels," referring to the university in New York City.

Another group, several of whom were clad in white jumpsuits splattered with black ink that was meant to represent oil, lay down on a black tarp spread out on Pennsylvania Avenue to stage a mock spill.

Organizers estimated 1,000 people protested and said several hundred agreed to risk arrest by refusing to leave the sidewalk in front of the White House. Citing U.S. Park Police figures, the organizers said later that almost 400 people were arrested.

"If the Democratic Party wants to keep our vote, they better make sure President Obama rejects that pipeline," said Nick Stracco, a 23-year-old student at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Canadian energy firm TransCanada Corp is behind the proposed pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The project already weathered a State Department environmental review, which was required because the project would cross international borders. Several other agencies also are doing reviews, and Obama has the final say.   Continued...