4 arrested after midair oil-train protest at Benicia BridgeBy Jenna Lyons, July 6, 2015, 6:55 pm
Police arrested four Bay Area activists Monday morning after they suspended themselves from the Benicia-Martinez railroad bridge to hang a banner protesting oil trains, the California Highway Patrol said.
About 7:50 a.m., some of the activists suspended themselves from the bridge with cords as they tried to display a banner that read, “Stop Oil Trains Now: Are You in the Blast-Zone.org.”
Jasmin Vargas, associate director of the nonprofit Communities for a Better Environment, said the activists were protesting in affiliation with her organization as well as ForestEthics and APEN, all environmental groups fighting the oil industry.
“We’re calling out and asking for an end to oil trains in our communities,” she said. “We don’t deserve to live in a blast zone.”
Vargas said the activists chose the Benicia bridge because it crosses the Carquinez Strait near several oil refineries and is a potential site for derailments and explosions as oil is transported on the tracks.
Officers arrested Oakland residents Janine Carmona, 29, and Charles Furman, 27, on suspicion of maintaining public nuisance and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Emily Heffling, 25, of Oakland and Ethan Buckner, 24, of Berkeley were arrested on suspicion of the same crimes as well as climbing or trespassing on a bridge and resisting or obstructing a peace officer.