ECHO Action joined 2,000 activists to block RR tracks of bomb trains in Albany on Saturday
ECHO Action represented NH this weekend as activists descended upon Lincoln Park in the heart of a residential area of Albany. Groups and individuals hailed from NY, MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, NJ, PA, MN, & CANADA.
Activists had braids, half-shaved heads, dreads, buns, and wild hair blowing in the wind. They wore costumes, buttons and shirts that said, "Break Free", "Keep It In The Ground", 350NYC, MA, and beyond. Several people had on shirts with Bernie Sanders' face all over them. They came with small hand made signs and posters, signs on posts, banners, paintings and large, elaborate group banners.
People met and greeted. Some had arrived the night before and participated in a kayaktivist event on the Hudson River. Some were long-time Facebook friends who'd not yet met. They gathered, beat the peace drum and soaked in the warm May sunshine. There were speakers, reminders about conduct, and calls for those who would risk arrest.
There was a clear police presence, but all was calm. In fact, four mounted police led the march as it began to weave through neighborhoods of people standing along the streets, taking photos and waving from their windows.
The march ended on the railroad tracks at the Port of Albany, where the rally began. The police moved in, surrounded us, on foot and on bicycles, and their cars blocked the roads.
A solar powered PA system and stage were set up. Tents were placed on the tracks and people settled in for the afternoon. This rally, to stop the oil bomb trains going through Albany, NY, was attended by those fighting trains, pipelines, fracking, and fossil fuels, all seeking a cleaner, brighter future. The crowd ranged from babies in slings, to some in orthopedic shoes who stood strong as an oak tree that has seen many seasons come and go.
About 2,000 people enjoyed a band, a DJ and many wonderful speakers. It was a warm, sunny day with light-hearted people, considering the serious issue came together to address. Organizeres were well prepared with water, food, T shirts and buttons. Not a complaint was heard. You can't ask for more than that, right? Well, yes you can.
While the demonstration was well surrounded by police, 5 people blocked an oil "bomb train" on the other side of town and were arrested. This news was met with joyful applause because. Serious activists wear their arrests like badges no scout leader would award.
As daylight faded, the crowd began to wane and those planning an encampment on the tracks for the night began to set up. We'll be back. We'll see each other again because we know, it's not over until they #KeepItInTheGround.