Jul 31st, 2008
A coalition of 150 protesters from Potomac Earth First!, Students for a Democratic Society-DC and Roadblock Earth First! danced in the streets and stormed the offices of profiteers and supporters of I-69, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) in Washington, DC on Monday, July 28.
Calling their protest “Funk I-69,” activists used a dance party in the street to distract police while they swarmed the lobby of the CATO Institute, a neoliberal think tank responsible for pushing NAFTA and other neoliberal globalization projects around the world. The glass doors and windows of the lobby were covered in stickers before police were able to force the protesters back outside.
I-69 is explicitly being constructed to move the trade produced by NAFTA, thus earning it the nickname “the NAFTA Superhighway.”
The protest then moved to the DC office of I-69 surveyor HNTB, which has previously had a New York office sabotaged over its involvement in the project. A line of riot police in front of the building caused protesters to instead block the streets with their dance party and hand out fliers and stickers to passersby.
Finally, the protesters converged on the offices of the Washington Post, which editorially supports I-69, the proposed local Inter-County Connector highway and other trade-related infrastructure.
The Department of Transportation has named I-69 a “Corridor of the Future” essential for US trade.
Here protesters once again were able to enter the building, but were forced back by a violent response from police, who stomped on one protester’s foot and actually grabbed another one by the neck and threw him down the stairs.
Finally, speakers from Potomac EF! made the connection between local infrastructure such as the ICC and national infrastructure like I-69. They noted that if even one state fails to approve or fund I-69, the whole highway will be pointless and other states would probably abandon their plans, as well.
Congratulations to SDS and Earth First! for showing that you don’t have to be in Indiana to derail plans for I-69, or to demolish colonialist infrastructure!