A group of Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters halted work at a site in Callaway for several hours on Aug. 15, leading to two arrests.
Security at the site on Wades Gap Road contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office when two protesters were found chained to equipment and other individuals protesting in the roadway, said Capt. Phillip Young of the sheriff’s office.
Banners were placed on the equipment stating “Earth is on fire. Turn off the gas” and “Solidaridad con Puerto Rico,” which translates to “Solidarity with Puerto Rico.”
According to a statement from the group, Appalachians Against Pipelines, which took credit for the protest, the climate is becoming destabilized due to the use of gas that has led to more severe hurricanes such as the one that hit Puerto Rico in 2017. They also claim pipelines could further harm the environment and other people by leaking or even exploding.
Sheriff’s deputies and Virginia State Police responded to the scene and asked the protesters blocking the roadway to leave and obtain a demonstration permit. They left the scene without incident, Young said.
The protesters chained to the equipment, later identified as Amory L. Zhou-Kourvo, 19, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Melissa M. Dubois, 27, of Worcester, Massachusetts, appeared fatigued leading deputies to contact Franklin County Public Safety to help them. Virginia State Police then removed the protesters safely from the equipment, Young said.
Both Zhou-Kourvo and Dubois were arrested and charged with trespassing and tampering with a vehicle. Dubois was released on $1,500 bond, and Zhou-Kourvo is currently being held without bond.