Climate Protests Stop D.C. Traffic Dead
Police arrested 32 climate change protesters who blocked rush hour traffic Monday after a weekend of demonstrations.
Hundreds of climate activists from a coalition of more than 20 environmental groups calling themselves “Shut Down DC” linked arms and formed human barricades at 22 Washington intersections during the morning and evening rush hours on Monday backing up traffic for several blocks and forcing buses to reroute.
The goal was to reminded drivers of the ravaging effects their car dependency has on life on this planet.
NOW – demonstrators remain at 16th & K. Some have attached themselves to a pink & yellow boat at the crossing. Officers are covering their eyes, ears, and bodies as they cut them from the boat pic.twitter.com/TOkneyODrA
— Justin Finch (@JustinNBC4) September 23, 2019
By 8 a.m., about 100 demonstrators hauled a pink and yellow sailboat emblazoned with the moniker “The Truth” into the middle of 16th and K street, a busy intersection three blocks from the White House, handcuffed themselves to it, and plopped onto the asphalt for a sit-in. Others had signs and banners that read “Climate Emergency: No More Business as Usual in MD, VA, DC,” “The Earth is on F’ing Fire,” and “Climate Justice is Health Justice.”
“It will be a different type of action than Friday’s protests,” organizer Kathleen Brophy from 350.org told the New York Times. “We will not have permits. We will be engaging in civil disobedience. We are withholding our obedience from a system we do not agree with.”
Drivers didn’t seem to mind the wait, although one told NBC 4, “This is ridiculous. I’m all about demonstrations, but they shouldn’t stop people from going to work.”
The D.C. protest followed Friday’s global school strike when millions of student activists from 120 countries marched in the streets demanding government leaders take immediate action to reduce carbon emissions and stop the planet from catastrophically warming.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who inspired the strike, excoriated foreign leaders Monday at the United Nations Climate Summit for failing to preserve the world from man-made environmental destruction for future generations.
"The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you."
— United Nations (@UN) September 23, 2019
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” she said before staring down President Trump in the UN hallway.
Trump skipped the climate summit in favor of a religious persecution forum and didn’t tweet about the protests, but called Thunberg a “very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
But the disruption earned snarky remarks from other administration officials who chided police for not removing picketers more quickly.
“Can you imagine any protest about any issue that is right of center where the police in Washington DC would just let you stop up traffic all over the city? Yeah, neither can I. This looks like a form of passive support by the police,” tweeted U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli.
D.C. and Capitol police arrested 32 people by the end of the day for blocking intersections.