Climate activists return to shut down DC traffic in march to EPA, Trump hotel

Climate activists return to shut down DC traffic in march to EPA, Trump hotel
© UPI Photo

Climate activists are planning to take to the streets of Washington, D.C., again on Friday morning, days after roughly 30 people were arrested for shutting down key intersections in a push to bring awareness to renewable energy.

Organizers with the coalition called Shut Down D.C. announced on Thursday that they were planning to host another protest that marched to “institutions most responsible for the climate crisis.”

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Their route will begin at McPherson Square at 7 a.m. and travel in a loop from financial institution Black Rock, Wells Fargo bank, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump International Hotel.

Kaela Bamberger, a spokesperson for the coalition, told The Washington Post that Trump hotel and the EPA were chosen because of the Trump administration’s “rampant climate skepticism.”

The financial institutions were reportedly targeted because of their investments in fossil fuels.

The route includes streets in the area between 15th and 12th streets NW, and I street and Constitution Avenue NW. 

The Metropolitan Police Department issued an alert on Friday morning about possibly city-wide traffic delays and encouraged people to take public transportation.

Bamberger told the outlet that organizers are not sure how many protesters are expected to participate.

Organizers for Monday’s protest said that nearly 2,000 people protested at various key intersections as part of the global climate strike, where more than 1 million were estimated to have protested in cities around the world to demand government action on climate change.

The demonstration, which coincided with the opening of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, demanded the immediate halt to fossil fuel production and swift transition to renewable energy.

Thirty-two people were arrested as part of Monday’s protests, according to The Washington Post.

The coalition said in a statement that while mostly white activists were forcibly removed by local police and later released without charge, members of Black Lives Matter DC were treated the harshest.

“We recognize that the costs and the risks of this type of bold direct action will not be shared evenly and the response of DC-area police displayed on Monday plainly demonstrates that the state is poised to retaliate most harshly against the communities most marginalized in our society,” the group said in a statement. “We condemn the racist behavior of DC-area police forces — and specifically US Capitol Police — in their response to our blockades and recognize that this is only one example of the ways in which police systematically target, suppress and terrorize communities of color in this city.”

The Hill has reached out to D.C. Police for comment.

GOP Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.) on Monday said he plans to introduce a bill that would force arrested protesters to pay for police overtime.

“Under my bill, a person will be responsible for public safety response costs incurred by the District of Columbia’s response to a demonstration if, in connection with the demonstration, the person is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense,” Banks tweeted.

Banks added that his bill “would not prohibit other demonstrations or protests” that receive legal permits, including the annual March for Life or the Women’s March, and would only affect illegal protesters who get arrested.