July 23, 2006

Kansas City Activists Take over Local Gas Stations

On Friday July 21 activists participating in a CodePink-initiated action (including local SDS members) took over three local gas stations during rush hour traffic to highlight the connection between oil consumption and American imperial policy in waging the war on the Iraqi people. Participants "shut down" the stations, telling customers the stations were closed for the day.

Fifteen participants, half on bicycle, travelled along Westport Road, stopping at three major gas stations. At each gas station, those on bicycle circled around, eventually stopping in front of the gas pumps, and placing pink "out of order" signs on them. Others passed out flyers explaining the need for the action. The speed and mobility granted by bicycle transportationa allowed the activists to stop at each station for a brief time, then moving on to the next station.

The action was highly successful in terms of providing information and shutting down strategic targets related to the war machine.

There was one arrest made as a result of the action. At the first gas station the contingent visited, an angry witness was attempting to strip an activist's megaphone away from her, assaulting her in the process. Another activist, who was quietly taking pictures of the attack. The person attacking the activist approached the camera-holder, in the process assaulting him as well and destroying his camera.

After the action was over, the person who had attacked two activists took the police to the first person he had attacked, having told them that she had assaulted him and not-as all parties present can attest-the other way around. She was placed in a police wagon and arrested on ironically-imposed assault charges. Hours later, she was released. It is important that we support this activist-attacked by an irate witness and then falsely-accused of having assaulted him-in her defense.

In addition, the police also briefly detained one activist who was urging others to leave once the police showed up at the third and final gas station, but allowed her to leave.

This energetic and innovative action was not only a success, it was exciting and unlike any action in Kansas City in recent history.


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