Stop I-69

I-69 Opponents Lock Down at Gohmann Asphalt Yard, Halt Work
June 28, 2008, 12:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Opponents to I-69 shut down business at a Gohmann Asphalt site for three and half hours on Wednesday, disrupting the normal flow of operations, clogging construction traffic, and costing Gohmann several hours worth of lost profits. Gohmann Asphalt has been awarded a $25 million contract to construct the first 1.77 miles of Interstate 69 north of Evansville, Indiana, a road that will displace 450 families, destroy thousands of acres of farmland, forests, and wetlands, and contribute to the increasing exploitation of the global South through free trade.

Protesters arrived at Gohmann Asphalt’s construction yard in Haubstadt, IN at 10 AM Wednesday morning. While one individual stopped a truck leaving the site, others deflated the tires, immobilizing the vehicle. Four individuals locked themselves to the undercarriage beneath the truck, and yet another climbed on top and locked his neck to a bar that was fixed to the trailer. Within minutes a long line of trucks stretched down the road, some trying to enter the facility and several trying to exit. As the lines grew longer, supporters arrived and began chanting, holding banners, and supporting those locked on with water and food.

Police arrived rapidly, and arrested one individual for allegedly deflating the truck’s tires, but seemed dumbfounded by the people locked on to the truck. As more and more law enforcement officers and agencies arrived, a crowd of spectators rapidly grew outside a nearby gas station, watching as business came to a halt. Police numbers grew throughout the day, until there were at least thirty different patrol cars, vans, and undercover cars. The numbers did nothing to help them, however, and they seemed increasingly befuddled as to how to remove the protesters.

Those locked on underneath the truck quickly gathered a small crowd of supporters, and filled the air with chants and songs. Spirits remained high throughout the day, and the truck provided shade for everyone but the police, who stood around conferring in small groups in the 95˚ weather.

“This action is in direct response to the careless and life-threatening eviction of the tree-sit and the ongoing repression of anti I-69 organizers in the region,” said Alex Lindenberry, one of those locked on to the truck. “We are also here to hold Gohmann Asphalt accountable for the construction of I-69, for the evictions of landowners, the destruction of communities here and south of the border, and for the environmental devastation that this road will bring. As long as Gohmann and other companies continue to work on this road, resistance will continue. Repression breeds resistance.”

After several hours of lost business, a police liaison negotiated the safe departure of everyone present, contingent on two demands: first, that all those present not be charged or harassed by police at a later date as a result of this action, and second that the comrade arrested for allegedly flattening the tires be released on their own recognizance. Those involved in the action decided to unlock and leave rather than stay and be arrested, deciding that the hours of lost business and the media spectacle were more important than symbolic arrests. As a result, those locked down walked away without even being identified, freeing up more bodies and legal funds to continue the fight.

This is only the most recent action in the struggle against I-69, and in retaliation for the eviction of the tree-sit. Although less than a week has passed since the eviction, office demos against involved corporations have taken place across the country, from Indiana and Kentucky to Maryland and Michigan and over 50 people marched with torches in Bloomington, IN last Saturday.

More and more people arrive in Southern Indiana every week to join the struggle against the NAFTA Superhighway. Fighting I-69 is not solely eco-defense, but is a direct attack on infrastructure necessary for the expansion of global capitalism. As the pace of construction accelerates and police repression increases, it becomes more vital than ever for more people to join the battle. Houses are under constant surveillance, cars are being tailed, and individuals are being repeatedly detained in multiple counties. The level of repression is a clear indicator of the degree of fear felt by the state and the corporations involved with this highway. They can film our houses and follow our cars, but there are more of us every day. If you ever thought about coming to Indiana, now is the time. Come for a week, for a month, or until construction ends. They can evict our camps and arrest our friends, they can try to force us underground, they can try to intimidate us, but we will never let them build this road.


6 Comments so far
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This is the first good thing I have heard in a while.

Comment by Degrassi? Like the t.v show?

AMAZING! I’m so glad to see how EFFECTIVELY repression is breeding resistance in this struggle.

See you in August!

Comment by Billie from Oly

Solidarity around the midwest… growing, showing, throwing*, and well no more rhymes. WE BITE!

Comment by The television program...


Comment by la florida

[…] 28; Haubstadt, IN: Protesters shut down a work yard of Gohmann Asphalt and Construction — the company building the first 1.77 miles of Interstate 69 […]

Pingback by Root Force » Blog Archive » Four More Direct Actions Target I-69

[…] 25; Haubstadt, IN: Protesters shut down a work yard of Gohmann Asphalt and Construction — the company building the first 1.77 miles of Interstate 69 […]

Pingback by Four More Direct Actions Target I-69 « Gunpowder Treason

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