scorecardresearch Skip to main content

8 arrested in Westborough for Keystone XL protest

Police moved protesters into a police van Monday after they were arrested for trespassing at TransCanada corporate offices in Westborough. The eight chained themselves together in protest of the company’s Keystone XL oil pipeline.John Blanding/Globe Staff

WESTBOROUGH — Eight protesters were arrested at the TransCanada corporate offices here Monday afternoon after they superglued their hands and chained their waists and ankles together to protest the company’s Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Seven of the eight protesters arrested were still chained ­together when brought to the Westborough police station on Monday.

Jacklyn Gil, a Brandeis University junior who helped coordinate the demonstration, said at the station that the protesters were brought in at about 5:40 p.m., though she had not seen them since their arrest.

“They were in good spirits all day, so I can’t imagine it’s different,” she said.

Westborough police identified those arrested as Emily Edgerly, 20, of Lexington; Devyn Weis Powell, 20, of Lake Oswego, Ore.; Lisa Rose Purdy, 20, of Waltham; Shea M. Riester, 22, of Brighton; ­Benjamin L. Thompson, 22, of Durham, N.H.; Benjamin J. ­Trolio, 22, of Burnt Hills, N.Y.; Allison J. ­Welton, 20, of ­Tonasket, Wash.; and Dorian S. Williams, 20, of ­Chicago.

After posting $40 bail each, demonstrators walked out into the police station lobby at about 9:15 p.m., hugging supporters and posing for photos.

Purdy, a Brandeis junior, said responders brought in nail polish remover to unglue the protesters but ended up just pulling their hands apart.

“It wasn’t that bad,” she said.

Purdy said the demonstrators were happy to be released but also thought their action was effective in showing solidarity with fellow protesters in Texas.

“It went really smoothly,” she said of the Westborough demonstration. “We practiced a lot and had an awesome support team.”

Welton, a Harvard University sophomore, said protesters chained and glued themselves together to tell the company that it “needs to stop locking us into climate-change disaster.”

The ungluing process “hurt a little bit, but not terribly,” she said. “I think the chains were a little bit more uncomfortable, to be honest.”

Welton said demonstrators told the TransCanada receptionist they had arrived for a peaceful protest, and the woman replied no before summoning other employees.

She said those workers told the protesters the Westborough office was not responsible for the Keystone pipeline and called police.

“I think the police were largely very respectful of us,” Welton said.

Thompson, a Boston University graduate student, said he is not apprehensive about potential legal penalties.

“I think it’s important to me that I be able to [say] that I’ve done everything I can to stop climate change,” he said. “People in the past have gone through much worse for much less.”

All eight will be charged with being a disorderly person, disturbing the peace, and trespassing, police said. They are scheduled to be arraigned in Westborough District Court on Tuesday morning.

Police said a locksmith unlocked the protesters’ ankle chains and the Westborough Fire Department assisted in remov­ing the adhesive from their hands.

One protester was freed from the chain around his waist before being transported to ­police headquarters, but the other seven remained bound until a key was delivered to the station at 6:05 p.m. The key was used to unlock the remaining waist padlocks.

Gil said Monday that the protesters were not affiliated with any other group and were opposed to the pipeline because they believe it will seriously damage the environment.

TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard called the protest a “stunt” and said the company’s first priority is to ensure the safety of its employees.

“This publicity stunt is ­another example of protesters’ attempts to stop a project that is currently providing thousands of jobs to American workers,” he said in a statement.

The Keystone XL project is a proposed 1,179-mile extension to an existing 2,150-mile pipeline system run by TransCanada that transports crude oil from eastern Alberta, Canada, to the American Midwest.

The pipeline is a $7 billion project that would ultimately connect oil sands in Canada to refineries in Texas.

Though the pipeline is not ­designed to pass through Massa­chusetts, Gil said the students are acting to show solidarity with protests scheduled in Texas in coming days.

One protester, Powell, a Tufts University junior, reiterated the group’s environmental concerns in an e-mail to supporters, which was forwarded to a reporter.

“As you read this e-mail, I am locked down in a Trans­Canada office with seven other youth activists,” she wrote. “We are engaged in a protest against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, because building this pipeline to develop the tar sands will lock us irrevocably into the climate crisis.”

Powell added, “Chaining myself to my seven friends is a last resort after our government, heavily influenced by corporate fossil fuel interests, has proved unable to take ­action against this deadly project.”

President Obama faces increas­ing pressure to decide whether to approve the pipeline, which some say would create jobs and boost the economy and others criticize as harmful to the environment, the Associated Press reported last month.

­Travis Andersen can be reached at; Todd Feathers can be reached at; and Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at