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.
First Amendment activities are planned in DC for Today, which may cause traffic delays, especially during the AM & PM commutes. The public should:— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) September 23, 2019
Use public transportation when possible
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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.
Climate protestors have now shut down New York Ave at 395 in NW Washington. Multiple intersections now impacted across DC. Organizers say: “this will not be business as usual” pic.twitter.com/0vqM8lcrnz— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) September 23, 2019
After the roving dance party to shame Wells Fargo and API, we are still holding Mass and N Capitol and we are growing as more protestors arrive. #GreenNewDealNOW #ShutdownDC pic.twitter.com/c77HtNKv43— Keya Chatterjee (@keya_chatterjee) September 23, 2019
I’m in downtown DC where climate activists with Extinction Rebellion have blocked the intersection of K and 16th streets with a big sailboat that says “rebel for life.” @WTOP @WTOPtraffic #ShutDownDC pic.twitter.com/NWIO1aRvM3— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) September 23, 2019
And the boat is gone from 16th and K. Probably 50-75 protestors remain. pic.twitter.com/Mqhwj5YQNt— Jordan Pascale ️ (@JWPascale) September 23, 2019
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.