Ben Weilerstein, left, and Martin Hamilton protest the construction of the West Ro|Twitter/Adam Greenberg1/2
Ben Weilerstein, left, and Martin Hamilton protest the construction of the West Ro|Twitter/Adam Greenberg
Weilerstein and Hamilton are arrested at the WRLP construction site Tuesday mornin|Twitter/Energy Action2/2
Weilerstein and Hamilton are arrested at the WRLP construction site Tuesday mornin|Twitter/Energy Action
Han Solo and Luke Skywalker were arrested Tuesday in West Roxbury.
Well, not quite. But two men dressed as the Rebel Alliance heroes led a "Star Wars"-themed protest at the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline construction project.
Ben Weilerstein, 22, and Martin Hamilton, 21, chained themselves to a steel plate at the site. Ten fellow demonstrators, dressed as Rebel Alliance troops, interlocked their arms and formed a circle around their leaders. With them, a sign that read "Build This Pipeline You Will Not" and bore the likeness of Jedi master Yoda.
— Fracked Gas Rebel (@FrackedGasRebel) May 31, 2016
Police were called to the scene, and issued warnings to the activists. When they didn’t disperse, the fire department arrived.
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"Firemen came and what they were able to do is go under the street," a spokeswoman for Fracked Gas Rebellion, the group that organized Tuesday’s protest, said. "They took off one of the plates that covers the road on the construction site and went under to saw open the locking mechanism [that Weilerstein and Hamilton had chained themselves to]."
The two were arrested around 8:45 a.m. and were awaiting arraignment as of Tuesday afternoon.
"I took action today because the continued construction of fossil fuel infrastructure is poisoning communities across the world with its carcinogenic pollutants and climate-disrupting emissions," said Weilerstein, a recent graduate of Tufts University.
"I feel it is my responsibility to oppose a system that prioritizes corporate profit at the expense of communities, and stand with those who will be affected by this pipeline, by fracking, and by the worsening effects of climate change," added Hamilton.
"The idea is that there's a rebellion going on right now," the group's representative said. "People are trying to rebel against the pipeline, what we’re calling the 'Death Star,' because it's a climate crisis that is able to destroy our planet, just like the ["Star Wars"] Death Star was a weapon that was able to destroy worlds.
The spokeswoman said they haven't been contacted by Walt Disney Pictures or Lucasfilm.
The pipeline is a 5.1-mile spur of a larger project that will increase the capacity of New England's largest natural gas pipeline. Construction is carried out by a subsidiary of Houston-based Spectra Energy. The WRLP begins at the Norfolk Golf Club in Westwood, and ends within 100 feet of an active-blast quarry in West Roxbury.
Resist the Pipeline believes the pipeline is at risk for explosion. The group says since the pipeline cuts a path through residential neighborhoods and past schools, it will jeopardize the area's safety and well-being.
Highly controversial, this project has been the site of daily vigils, protests, rallies, and 85 arrests before Tuesday. In addition to Resist the Pipeline and Fracking Gas Rebellion, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Congressman Steven Lynch, and senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren also oppose the project.