21 arrested in protest at Utah oil sands operation

Tuesday , July 22, 2014 - 4:52 PM

VERNAL, Utah (AP) — Authorities have arrested 21 protesters at an eastern Utah oil sands operation who blocked a road, entered a fenced-off area and chained themselves to machinery.

The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office says in a statement that deputies have been monitoring protesters near a tar sands pit in the Book Cliffs area since July 15.

Undersheriff John Laursen says on Monday morning, protesters vandalized signs and climbed into a fenced-off area to block workers from gaining access to heavy equipment.

Laursen says after four hours, officers arrested 15 protesters.

He says two people had chained themselves to equipment and bolt cutters were needed to remove them.

Officials say six other protesters were arrested after blocking deputies as they tried to drive away.

Laursen says 20 of the 21 protesters were still in the Uintah County Jail Tuesday.

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