10,000 protesters from Occupy and environmental movements surrounded the White House yesterday, urging Obama not to ink a deal for the Keystone Pipeline—a giant oil pipeline that would bring oil from Canada's controversial tar sands to ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

Here in Portland, about 300 activists marched through downtown for the cause. Freelancer Georgia Perry was there and has this recap:

Tar Sands Solidarity Fist
  • Tar Sands Solidarity Fist
Portland's event started with speeches by local environmental leaders who differed between urging President Obama to ban the pipeline ("Obama has the opportunity to do the right thing today," said Climate Justice Portland's Kari Koch), and writing him off—saying citizens should take matters into their own hands.

After all the speeches, bike cops escorted the protestors as they marched from Schrunk plaza to the courthouse next to Pioneer Square, enforcing traffic laws broke up the march into chunks.

"Patience is a virtue," one officer said to a group lamenting getting separated from the protestors who made it across while the "walk" sign was still on.

Mimicking DC’s protest, the group joined hands and formed a giant circle around the building… though, unlike DC’s, Portland's circle had a few gaps. Trying to fill gaps resembled an awkward corporate team building exercise, but after a bit, the protestors settled in and stood their ground for an hour. Chanting ensued: "What do we want? Green jobs! When do we want it? Now!" and "Obama! God damn! We will stop the tar sands!" were some favorites. Those at the southeast corner of the courthouse struggled to keep their chants on-meter despite the Star Wars theme song being trumpeted by a nearby busker.