Ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Oklahoma, protesters gathered in downtown streets Wednesday evening to protest the Key
Activists from a number of organizations called for an expansion of clean energy programs and a shift in priorities at the federal level.
“We want our priorities taken off energy policy and put on human needs,” said Rena Guay, an organizer with Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research.
Diplomacy, not war
is group's aim
Guay's organization is part of a larger coalition of groups called Americans Against the Next War. The coalition, which organized the event, hopes to see the federal budget remade to reflect a shift away from military priorities.
The group calls for an end to the conflict in Afghanistan and opposes an escalation of tension with Iran. Guay said the group is particularly concerned about the possibility of American military action against Iran to deal with the country's growing nuclear capabilities.
“We believe that diplomacy is a far better method to gain their compliance,” she said.
Damage to state's historic sites feared
Fannie Bates, another protester, is a member of the Coalition Against Keystone XL Pipeline, an organization of American Indians and others who are concerned the project will damage or destroy historical buildings and sites in Oklahoma, including a number of American Indian sites.
Bates has written about her concerns on a personal blog. Citing figures from the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, Bates said the project stands to disturb 71 archaeological sites and 12 historic structures across Oklahoma. But, she said, the federal government has been unwilling to turn over the list of which sites it intends to protect and which sites will be destroyed.
Particularly of concern, Bates said, is the fact that she has American Indian ancestors buried in unmarked graves across the state. She's concerned the project will disturb such sites.
“To us, those graves are sacred,” she said. “If you're not Indian, you wouldn't know where they are,” she said.