Decisions made about fossil fuel use over the next decade will shape what the world looks like after 2050.
Decisions made about fossil fuel use over the next decade will very likely shape what the world looks like after 2050. Alex Garland

Fifty-two people were arrested early Sunday morning after spending two nights camped out on a single railroad track leading to the Shell and Tesoro refineries near Anacortes. The protests were part of a weekend of direct action called Break Free, in which activists all over the globe demonstrated to urge governments, businesses, and individuals to stop relying on fossil fuels.

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In addition to the roughly 150 people who slept on the tracks, tribes from all over the region held their own Indigenous Day of Action against resource extraction and refinery pollution that disproportionately impacts people of color. Kayaktivists, who brought attention to Shell's Arctic drilling rig in Elliott Bay last year, paddled out in Fidalgo Bay to protest the refineries.

Photographer Alex Garland "got 8 fucking hours of sleep in 72 hours" to cover the whole thing. Check out his photos from the weekend below—and check back here on Slog for follow ups on the arrestees' June 2 court appearance. - Sydney Brownstone

An activist keeps warm in a sleeping bag after spending the night sleeping on the rail spur leading to Shell and Tesoro refineries at March Point, near Anacortes.
An activist keeps warm in a sleeping bag after spending the night sleeping on the rail spur leading to Shell and Tesoro refineries at March Point, near Anacortes. Alex Garland

Connor and Lydia, both students, caught in the morning light after spending the night on railroad tracks.
Connor and Lydia, both students, caught in the morning light after spending the night on railroad tracks. Alex Garland

Ian Alloway, a student from Bellingham is here to protest the extraction of fossil fuels when there is a scientific consensus that its the wrong thing to do. The technology exists to do it differently.
Ian Alloway, a student from Bellingham is here to "protest the extraction of fossil fuels when there is a scientific consensus that it's the wrong thing to do. The technology exists to do it differently." Alex Garland

Activist Sarra Tekola peeks out from her tent.
Activist Sarra Tekola peeks out from her tent. Alex Garland

Roughly 150 people spent Friday night sleeping on the train tracks. Organizer Ahmed Gaya estimates that 200 people slept on the tracks the following night.
Roughly 150 people spent Friday night sleeping on the train tracks. Organizer Ahmed Gaya estimates that 200 people slept on the tracks the following night. Alex Garland

Activists put together scaffolding on the tracks and climbers suspended themselves from a central sleeping platform.
Activists put together scaffolding on the tracks and climbers suspended themselves from a central "sleeping platform." Alex Garland

Activists take time to meditate on Saturday morning.
Activists take time to meditate on Saturday morning. Alex Garland

Indigenous peoples have been fighting against resource extraction on their lands since the arrival of Europeans in North America.
Indigenous peoples have been fighting against resource extraction on their lands since the arrival of Europeans in North America. Alex Garland

March Point, the land on which the Shell and Tesoro refineries are situated, once belonged to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Former president Ulysses S. Grant took the land away from the Swinomish in an 1873 executive order.
March Point, the land on which the Shell and Tesoro refineries are situated, once belonged to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Former president Ulysses S. Grant took the land away from the Swinomish in an 1873 executive order. Alex Garland

This action opened up the land to be occupied by settler colonists and later occupied by oil corporations, according to Shelly Vendiola, Swinomish tribal member and organizer. The Swinomish ancestors signed the 1855 Treaty that gave acquired right to access food at usual and accustomed places. Over time, the air, land and water became contaminated and we have not gathered food from this area for quite some time.”
"This action opened up the land to be occupied by settler colonists and later occupied by oil corporations," according to Shelly Vendiola, Swinomish tribal member and organizer. "The Swinomish ancestors signed the 1855 Treaty that gave acquired right to access food at 'usual and accustomed places.' Over time, the air, land and water became contaminated and we have not gathered food from this area for quite some time.” Alex Garland

The Lummi Youth Canoe glides through Fidalgo Bay.
The Lummi Youth Canoe glides on Fidalgo Bay. Alex Garland

Protesters sit on tracks waiting to be arrested. Police arrived shortly after 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Protesters sit on tracks waiting to be arrested. Police arrived shortly after 5 a.m. on Sunday morning. Alex Garland

A long line of protesters being herded into a police bus.
A long line of protesters being herded into a police bus. Alex Garland

Protesters who stayed on the tracks have been charged with criminal trespass.
Protesters who stayed on the tracks have been charged with criminal trespass. Alex Garland

Their first court appearance is June 2. Some activists may want to take the matter to trial.
Their first court appearance is June 2. Some activists may want to take the matter to trial. Alex Garland

On Friday, kayaktivists paddled to the middle of Fidalgo Bay to hold LED light panels demanding clean energy.
On Friday, kayaktivists paddled to the middle of Fidalgo Bay to hold LED light panels demanding clean energy. Alex Garland

It wouldnt be a fossil fuel protest in the Pacific Northwest without kayaks.
It wouldn't be a fossil fuel protest in the Pacific Northwest without kayaks. Alex Garland

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community fished clams and other shellfish out of Fidalgo Bay for thousands of years until a Shell refinery was constructed in the 1950s and the waters became too polluted.
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community fished clams and other shellfish out of Fidalgo Bay for thousands of years until a Shell refinery was constructed in the 1950s and the waters became too polluted to do so. Alex Garland