Climate change protests snarl DC traffic as bizarre scenes unfold in capital
Climate activists demonstrating to coincide with the 2019 U.N. Climate Action Summit blocked intersections and snarled morning-commute traffic across Washington, D.C., Monday as they called on officials to take action on global warming.
The group, called "Shut Down D.C.," has planned a week of activities to bring attention to climate change and convince national and international leaders to act. Monday's continuation of the "Global Climate Strike" follows worldwide climate protests on Friday, including a demonstration in New York City led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.
"Parents, workers, college students, and everyone who is concerned about the climate crisis will skip work and school and put off their other responsibilities to take action on the climate crisis," the organization says on its website.
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But the demonstrations across D.C. Monday morning also angered the city's commuters as the scattered marches caused gridlock and detours. District of Columbia police reported making more than two-dozen arrests as of Monday afternoon.
A D.C. blogger posted one photo of a mass of cars halted behind a line of protesters a few blocks northwest of Mount Vernon Square. The same blogger also tweeted a picture of a literal dumpster fire on Massachusetts Ave.
At another protest site, police were using a saw to cut protesters out of chains attached to a painted boat.
Another group of about 30 protesters blocked an intersection near Union Station, holding up a large mock pipeline that read "stop pipelines now." Police stopped traffic about a block in each direction and were moving vehicles around the area demonstrators had occupied.
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The "Shut Down D.C." protesters read testimonials from anti-pipeline activists in Oregon before chanting, "Hey-hey! Ho-ho! LNG has got to go." LNG is an acronym for liquified natural gas.
Protesters also adapted the famous song "When The Saints Go Marching In" for their purposes.
"Oh how I'd love to live in that future — when the frackers go to jail," they sang.
While some passersby seemed to back the "Shut Down D.C." demonstrators, others were not so supportive. One woman walking by yelled at the demonstrators that there was a handicapped woman walking down the street because they'd blocked traffic. The protesters responded by saying people were dying because of the climate crisis.
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"You tell that to the woman walking with the cane up the street," the woman shot back.
At approximately 9:45 a.m., the Twitter account purporting to represent the "Shut Down D.C." group claimed they were still blocking traffic at eight locations across the city, including Logan Circle and Dupont Circle.