Cops Bust Up Knit-In, Make Arrest At Vermont Gas (VIDEO)


(Photo courtesy of WikiMedia.)

It’s been little more than a month since roughly three dozen Rising Tide activists stormed Vermont Gas in Burlington, Vermont May 27 in opposition of an expanding pipeline, and Wednesday, Burlington residents decided to remind the world once more that they are still resisting, this time by perhaps the most peaceful act of civil disobedience on recent record.

Far from hanging banners from the roof and locking themselves to the front doors by the neck, five women took seats in the lobby of Vermont Gas this week and proceeded to knit until, they said, they would be permitted to voice their dissent with Vermont Gas officials. Instead, the concerned citizens were dismissed by being told they needed an appointment. Upon closing at 5 p.m., the women were warned that they were trespassing.

One of the five women, Jane Palmer, was later sectioned off from the rest by police and taken away around 5:30 p.m. She was accompanied by no less than five squad cars in her straw hat and floral-print dress, according to Vermont Public Radio (VPR). The public just can’t be too careful with such ruthless domestic terrorists.

Taylor Dobbs reported for VPR:

“Palmer was knitting what appeared to be a turquoise scarf, and had knitted about 8 inches of it before Vermont Gas closed at 5 p.m.”

Dobbs continued:

“It is unclear if she was allowed to continue her knitting at the police station.”

At stake and concern for the two parties is the expansion of one Vermont Gas pipeline that would ultimately extend service south from Chittenden County. Vermont Gas has stated that it has no intentions to halt the 41-mile, $87 million project. Palmer, however, spoke with Dobbs before her arrest and stated that both she and her husband had been researching the pipeline-in-question’s permit process. Both concluded that it had not been handled properly, but found quickly that no one was willing to listen.

Palmer stated:

“I was incensed because I feel like they’re trying to intimidate and bully people into not protesting, if you think you’re gonna have a record and you’re going to have to go to jail or whatever. Law-abiding citizens do not like to be threatened with being arrested.”

Palmer also told Dobbs that Wednesday’s arrest would be her first ever. The Burlington Free Press states that Palmer is due in court in two weeks.

And that’s the crux of the matter. What are American citizens to do when they are only permitted the illusion of dissent — dissent that is only allowed in out of the way locations, where it will not be seen, heard, considered or discussed, where it can be dismissed and forgotten in its government-sanctioned “free speech zone” like a prisoner in solitary confinement yelling about his or her rights to the brick walls. Out of sight, out of mind — that’s where our freedom of speech lies dying right now, and if folks stand up to that stark reality and take further, necessary action they get arrested.

Let them arrest us, then. They can never arrest us all. Keep standing, fighting, arguing, and knitting folks. As Abbie Hoffman used to say:

“Do your thing! Do your thing!”

So long as folks stands for liberty, freedom and a clean environment, lay yourselves across the gears of the machine by any means your creativity can muster.