About 30 local activists and Ohio State students protested in front of the Statehouse Tuesday night in response to President Donald Trump’s executive orders made just hours earlier.
Ohio Revolution, an activist group focused on environmental issues and political reform, organized the impromptu rally just hours after Trump’s decision to continue development of the previously halted Keystone XL and the Dakota Access oil pipelines.
Protesters gathered and led chants outside the Statehouse for about an hour before dispersing.
Atticus Garden, an event organizer for the group, said he was touching on his experiences as a medic at Standing Rock, in North Dakota, where the protesters gathered to contest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“There are things we are willing to compromise on and things we aren’t,” Garden said. “These pipelines are harmful to our communities, our waterways and our ecosystem. So this is one area we are not willing to compromise.”
The executive order from Trump comes after the Obama administration denied a permit to Dakota Access developer Energy Transfer Partners back in December after months of protest, halting the project’s completion.
“We want to be proactive instead of reactive,” Garden said. “This demonstration is to show that we stand with Standing Rock.”
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe attracted headlines this past fall when thousands of protesters flocked to North Dakota to protest the pipeline
Standing Rock protesters like Garden were joined by a new wave of protesters, both young and old, who were inspired to act by Trump’s executive actions.
Laura Wallace, a graduate student in psychology, said she joined the protest, her first, because she is concerned about the future of the country.
“It was a big win when the Dakota Access Pipeline got banned, and now it seems like we are going through this all over again,” Wallace said. “It continues our legacy, as a country, of oppressing native people and ignoring environmental concerns.”
Another first-time protester, 63-year-old Wendy Mellott, reiterated the treatment of Native Americans in the United States as a reason for her newfound activism.
“These people have fought to keep this from happening for so long,” Mellott said. “( Trump) signs an executive order and just throws it all away.”
Correction 1/25: An earlier version of this story stated that Atticus Garden had previously worked as a medic in North Dakota as well as South Dakota. He has only worked in North Dakota. The article has been updated to reflect this.