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‘#ShutDownDC’ climate protests block major intersections in city’s core

The disruptive demonstrations could persist throughout the day

Protestors block a major city intersection with a banner and their bodies.
Environmental activists during the #ShutDownDC action on September 23
AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of activists are obstructing busy streets in downtown D.C. and other well-trafficked areas of the city today to draw attention to the climate crisis and demand significant action from world leaders. The protests started early Monday in time for the morning rush hour and are poised to last throughout the day. Demonstrators showed up with banners, megaphones, and—at K and 16th streets NW—even a pink and yellow boat on wheels. Police are monitoring the activity; some arrests have been reported.

The protests come during the day of the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York, a mass gathering of officials and advocates designed to help build momentum to address what the U.N. calls “the defining issue of our time.” In the District, organizers of the “#ShutDownDC” demonstration say they seek to disrupt business-as-usual with nonviolent civil disobedience. Pressing for a Green New Deal, they represent a broad coalition of advocacy and civic groups.

The protests follow a student-led climate march to the U.S. Capitol last Friday that thousands of people attended. Drivers were gridlocked for hours Monday morning, which is perhaps no surprise given that driving alone is still the most common way of commuting in the D.C. area. Below are firsthand reports from the scenes of the demonstration during and after rush hour.

Update, 4:30 p.m.:

The organizers behind Monday’s demonstration are planning another one Friday morning, Washingtonian reports, though they say they are still figuring out the specifics. Local and federal police arrested 32 people Monday in connection with “#ShutDownDC,” per WJLA.