Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was run off the stage by anti-Line 3 protesters at a Democrat fundraising event in Alexandria on Saturday.
Walz and the Minnesota DFL have faced staunch opposition in recent months from a collection of leftist groups and activists who refer to themselves as “water protectors.” The water protectors oppose an ongoing pipeline project called Line 3 that runs through native land and will replace an existing line to transport oil through Canada, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Walz has not blocked the continued construction of Line 3, to the dismay of the water protectors. For months, the governor has maintained support for the project as it will “replace an aging pipeline.” He has also remarked that “one pipeline is not going to be where we win this battle on climate.”
In response to the governor’s inaction, protesters disrupted his unrelated speech on Saturday, causing him to vacate the stage less than 10 minutes into his address.
A protest-related Twitter account uploaded footage of the event that shows about 50 activists singing songs, holding signs and generally preventing Walz from speaking before he apparently left the premises entirely.
Minutes into his speech and vastly outnumbered, Walz fled the event.
Direct action gets the goods! pic.twitter.com/5oC9EJ7dD3
— Resist Line 3 (@ResistLine3) September 4, 2021
“We have tried for years to be civil. We have tried having a dialogue. None of it worked,” the account wrote.
A group of similar protesters also blocked the entrance to the DFL booth at the Minnesota State Fair last weekend to show their frustration with the party’s tacit approval of Line 3.
Meanwhile, some Minnesota progressives and their allies from other states have made a point to show their opposition to the pipeline. Minnesota’s Rep. Ilhan Omar and her allies, Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Cori Bush of Missouri and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, met with Line 3 protest leaders on Saturday.
Most prominently, the legislators met with organizer Winona LaDuke, according to their press schedule. LaDuke is a controversial climate activist who has defended accused pedophiles who work in or around her organization and is connected to individuals who called for terrorist attacks against pipeline-related infrastructure.
Like LaDuke and the water protectors, Omar and her allies are concerned that the Line 3 pipeline violates land deals between America and native reservations. They also oppose the project on the grounds that it bolsters the oil industry.
Proponents of the pipeline highlight that the Obama administration actually mandated its construction after concerns emerged that the existing line dates back to the 1960s and is now unsafe to operate. Many native people are also happy with the deal they negotiated to allow the line to pass through their land.