BREAKING: DOI folds, drops charges against 21 arrested during Reclaim Power occupation April 18

On April 18th, a thousand people marched to the Dept. of Interior in an unpermitted march, organized by Rising Tide North America and Peaceful Uprising, singing “We Shall Overcome.” Hundreds stormed the building’s lobby for a multi-hour occupation which resulted in 21 arrests.

Today was their arraignment. All 21 were in court for our arraignment from all over the country. Some planned on going to trial.

But then there was a strange turn. The Dept of Interior essentially dropped all charges.

Here’s a first hand account from one of the DOI 21:


Arrestees singing and smiling on the way to the police wagon while supporters on the street cheer on.

“The court called us up front and, one by one, called us up to the clerk who gave us a paper which said, in part, “The US Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia or the office of the Attorney General for the D. of C. has declined to proceed with prosecution against you for the incident that led to your arrest for the offense of UNLAWFUL ENTRY. This means that your arrest has been NO PAPERED. However, the prosecuting attorney could seek to proceed with prosecution at a later date.”

Our lawyer afterwards said that in 20 years of experience he knows of only one case where someone who was “no papered” was later prosecuted for the charge.

The 21 of us went outside the courthouse and after exchanging hugs we sang “If I Had a Hammer” together. We also talked about the next big action for many of us, the March on Blair Mountain. We were all juiced!”

Was it the threat of taking it to court, the sheer number of arrestees, or the upcoming presidential election that swayed them? Maybe all three. The DOI is under the authority of Obama, and the corruption that would have been made public by a trial was certainly something the DOI would have considered in an election year.

The greatest thing about principled, nonviolent civil disobedience is that it creates a win/win situation for citizens. In this case, the DOI has made it clear that they cannot conduct their business out in the open without major backlash. Let this action be the first of many, until the Department and the BLM begin making decisions they can be proud of, instead of representing the narrow, destructive interests of the fossil fuel industry.

Please continue to support the 9 climate activists who were arrested just before Powershift at the Citizens Filibuster. They will likely face serious charges. Donate to PeaceUp BackUp (Current balance has been, and will remain, public.)

These 9 climate activists are still facing charges for the Citizens’ Filibuster