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“We’re going in”: activists successfully blockade key intersections in downtown DC to demand action on the climate crisis

Facebook: facebook.com/StrikeDC/
Twitter: @shutdown_dc 
Instagram: shutdowndc923

Please find footage and photographs here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1iK0LO2p3L4tCpizgImKueb9HBLdzHTDr 

Washington D.C., Sept 23 – As many as 2,000 people seized key intersections across Washington D.C. on Monday morning, significantly disrupting business-as-usual in the U.S. capital to demand an immediate end to the age of fossil fuels, and a swift and just transition to renewable energy. The Coalition has decided to return to the streets on September 27, the last day of the Global Climate Strike. 

A broad coalition of climate and social justice groups fanned out across downtown D.C. to seize 22 intersections over the course of the morning, blocking traffic during rush hour.  At one blockade, activists hauled a pink and yellow yacht into the middle of the street and chained themselves to it. Others locked themselves to tall step ladders. Some groups barricaded roads with an 80-foot long inflatable oil pipeline; others with 30-foot ladders and an enormous replica of fire extinguisher. With some dressed as dinosaurs and polar bears, many danced in the streets with college students, nurses and passersby joining in, chanting, “We demand a green new deal,” and “Our house is on fire, put the fire out.”

Black Lives Matter and healthcare workers fighting for climate justice set up a free blood pressure clinic in the middle of the road. “We know that climate injustice and environmental racism are fueled by the same systems of white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and colonialism from which we seek to liberate Black people,” said Nee Nee Taylor, Direct Action Coordinator with Black Lives Matter DMV. “We know that Black people in DC, Black people in this country, and Black people across the diaspora will continue to be the most impacted by climate disaster.”

The group Rising Tide North America blocked roads by locking themselves to a car and an 80’s conversion van. A labor rights and Democratic Socialists of America group shut down the intersections around Amazon’s DC headquarters, and a Migrant Justice group did the same at the headquarters of ICE. Werk for Peace, a queer and trans grassroots movement, blasted biodegradable confetti outside the offices of Wells Fargo and the American Petroleum Institute while jiving to “hot beats”.

“Climate change is a public health emergency. It affects the health of all of us, but most especially our disenfranchised communities. We must invest in the health of frontline communities now and in the future to protect against the worst of what climate change will bring,” said Katie Donnelly, a doctor manning the blood pressure clinic.

Police arrested 32 people, including 26 college students, before releasing them later in the day. Officers moved in at around 700AM. They towed a van for seven blocks with two activists still chained to the roof, putting their lives in danger. 

One of the activists locked to the roof of the van, Daniel Dixon, said: “After I locked myself to the van, the police violently shoved away our support team, attached the van to a tow truck, and drove away with zero regard for our physical safety. As the police were towing us down Independence Avenue, I yelled ‘no stolen oil from stolen land,’ ‘respect Indigenous sovereignty,’ and ‘honor the treaties’.”

At the yacht, police formed a perimeter and blocked people from approaching the vessel. They cut through the chains that activists had used to lock themselves to the boat. It took officers nearly three hours to remove the yacht from the street. Capitol Police dismantled the health clinic erected by Black Lives Matter and a group of healthcare workers within 20 minutes of their arrival and then arrested six people sitting in the road.

“I couldn’t believe it – they carried a sailboat out and set it in the middle of K Street.  It was actually pretty cool. It certainly made my drive more interesting,” said one driver.

#ShutDownDC builds on the recent surge of student-led climate strikes and mass protests that have rattled politicians around the world. The blockade of the U.S. capital is also timed to coincide with the start on Monday of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

The coalition’s demands include a Green New Deal that brings about a swift and just transition to 100% renewable energy. It also wants governments to protect at least 50% of the world’s lands and oceans, and to halt deforestation by 2030. The coalition is also calling for climate justice for everyone. The transition to a clean future must boost rather than further harm communities hit by poverty and pollution.

THE COALITION: 198 Methods, 350 DC, Backbone Campaign, Beyond Extreme Energy, Black Lives Matter DMV, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, Code Pink, Extinction Rebellion DC, Friends of the Earth Action, Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee, Labor Network for Sustainability, Metro DMV Democratic Socialists of America, Movement for a People’s Party, Rising Tide North America, Sunrise Movement DC, Werk for Peace and World BEYOND War.

For footage and photographs please see here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1iK0LO2p3L4tCpizgImKueb9HBLdzHTDr 

Please direct any media enquiries to:

Spokesperson Kaela Bamberger: +1 (518) 847-5341 or kaelabamberger@gmail.com

Press officer Miles Amoore: +1 (202) 867-6080 or milesamoore@gmail.com

Visit https://www.strikedc.org/ for more information and for press updates and previous announcements see https://www.strikedc.org/index.php/press/ 

FAQ: https://www.strikedc.org/index.php/faq/

#ShutDownDC: DC residents from all walks act as emergency responders to climate crisis on September 23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2019

Contact: press@strikedc.org
Twitter: @xrebeldc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellionDC/

Washington, D.C., September 23 – Extinction Rebellion DC, alongside a coalition of other groups, has shut down the center of decision-making in the U.S. to demand the government immediately ends fossil fuel production, and enforces a swift and just transition to renewable energy. 

A broad coalition of climate and social justice organizations began to seize key intersections in the city at 7AM, disrupting the city’s morning rush hour traffic. Extinction Rebellion used a pink and yellow yacht as a barricade amidst a dance party. Activists seized intersections dressed as scuba divers and dinosaurs. Black Lives Matter and healthcare workers fighting for climate justice set up a mobile blood pressure clinic in the middle of the road. Some groups led dance parties through the streets. The group Rising Tide North America blocked roads by locking themselves to a car and an 80’s conversion van. Others participated in mass mobile blockades. A labor rights and Democratic Socialists of America group shut down the intersections around Amazon’s DC headquarters, and a Migrant Justice group did the same at the headquarters of ICE.

Much of the coalition met at four separate locations (Hancock Park/L’Enfant Metro Station, Folger Park, Columbus Circle, and Farragut Square) before fanning out in groups to seize their planned intersection. The blockades they have erected have gridlocked downtown D.C. during rush hour.

“I am a father, a Sunday School teacher, a youth baseball coach, and an Eagle Scout. And today I am peacefully breaking the law by blockading a downtown DC street in solidarity with students worldwide,” said Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund’s Executive Director.

“In the United States, through the radically pro-pollution policies of the Trump Administration, we are pushing our planet Earth further and further outside of its comfort zone. Which means concerned Americans like me must push ourselves further and further outside our own comfort zones in an effort to pressure our leaders to finally solve this crisis.”

#ShutDownDC builds on the recent surge of climate strikes and mass protests that have rattled politicians around the world.  The blockade of the U.S. capital is also timed to coincide with the start of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

“The UN Secretary General called this summit today to strengthen the political will of the world’s leaders. But the only thing that’s stronger in the four years since the Paris Agreement was passed is the yearly rate of global carbon emissions and the volume of public outcry,” said Kaela Bamberger, organizer with Extinction Rebellion. “What will it take to reach the ears of those with our future in their hands?”

The coalition’s demands include a Green New Deal that brings about a swift and just transition to 100% renewable energy. It also wants governments to protect at least 50% of the world’s lands and oceans, and to halt deforestation by 2030. The coalition is also calling for climate justice for everyone. The transition to a clean future must boost rather than further harm communities hit by poverty and pollution.

LOCATIONS: 

Extinction Rebellion used a yacht to blockade just above the White House, at 16th ST and K ST, NW, with several people locked to the boat and blockading the intersection around it. All the while, a dance party raged on. 

350 DC, accompanied by Werk for Peace, a queer-activist group, and Code Pink and World Beyond War, peace groups, set a blockade for Massachusetts and North Capital, NW.

A group of college students held the intersection of New York and I-395, as well as they hold the moral authority on climate change.

Black Lives Matter is teaming up with healthcare workers to connect health with the climate crisis; they are holding blood pressure and glucose screenings in the middle of Pennsylvania and Washington Ave, SE.

A combination of the labor rights activists and members of the Democratic Socialists of America are blockading the intersections providing entry into the Amazon’s DC headquarters at New Jersey and Massachusetts, NW.

Rising Tide North America (RTNA) started a mass mobile blockade stepping off from Hancock Park. They locked down to a car and 80’s conversation van at the intersection of 14th ST and C ST, SW, and were promptly towed away with people locked to the top and inside the vehicles.

Employees of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund blocked Independence and 12th, SW. At the headquarters of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), migrant justice activists blockaded the intersections of 12th and Maryland, SW.

THE COALITION:

198 Methods, 350 DC, Backbone Campaign, Beyond Extreme Energy, Black Lives Matter DMV, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, Code Pink, Extinction Rebellion DC, Friends of the Earth Action, Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee, Labor Network for Sustainability, Metro DMV Democratic Socialists of America, Movement for a People’s Party, Rising Tide North America, Sunrise Movement DC, and Werk for Peace

Please direct any media enquiries to:

Spokesperson
Kaela Bamberger, +1 (518) 847-5341 or, kaelabamberger@gmail.com

Press officer
Miles Amoore, +1 (202) 867-6080, milesamoore@gmail.com

Visit https://www.strikedc.org/ for more information and for press updates and previous announcements see: https://www.strikedc.org/index.php/press/

Washington, D.C. September 11  – Climate rebels will blockade traffic throughout the nation’s capitol to demand immediate action on global heating. On the morning of September 23, several hundred parents, students, workers, health professionals, migrant justice advocates, people of faith, trans people, college groups and peace activists will bring Washington D.C. to a standstill while Greta Thunberg and youth climate leaders speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City. 

The growing Shut Down D.C. Strike Coalition includes 14 climate and social justice organizations that will collaborate to shut down more than a dozen key intersections across D.C. in the midst of the youth Global Climate Strike. Shut Down D.C. is hosting mass organizing meetings on September 11 and September 18 at 5:30 PM at the Friends Meeting House in downtown Washington D.C.

New York Times bestselling author Naomi Klein and the President of the Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood will open the Coalition’s mobilization meeting on September 18 with a clarion call to action. “The devastating impacts of the climate crisis are here now, harming our communities and threatening life on this planet for our kids,” said Rev. Yearwood. “For young people and our communities at the frontlines of climate change, this is simply about fighting for existence.” 

The minister will be available for interviews before and during the meeting. Coalition members are hosting a full calendar of events including art builds, public talks, panel discussions, and movie screenings across the city ahead of the shut down. 

“Young people around the world are cracking open the heart of the climate crisis, speaking of a deep longing for a future they thought they had but that is disappearing each day that adults fail to act on the reality that we are in an emergency,” Klein writes in her new book On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal. 

The complacency ends now. Shut Down DC marks the start of a global wave of citywide shut downs in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and New York City on October 7. 

While we demand serious and transformative action, we will also celebrate the rising tide of rebellion against climate catastrophe with games, music, food, beach balls, kiddie pools, face painting and festivities in the streets.

The blockades are being organized by a coalition of activists from different climate and social justice organizations including 198 Methods, 350 DC, Backbone Campaign, Beyond Extreme Energy, Black Lives Matter DMV, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, Code Pink, Extinction Rebellion DC, Friends of the Earth Action, Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee, Labor Network for Sustainability, Metro DMV Democratic Socialists of America, Movement for a People’s Party, and Rising Tide North America.

As the September 20 youth Global Climate Strike approaches, the Shut Down D.C. spokes council is adopting and elevating the demands of the youth coalition. Shut Down D.C. agrees that to confront the climate emergency we must enact a Green New Deal, respect indigenous land and sovereignty, uphold environmental justice, protect and restore biodiversity, and implement sustainable agriculture.

Just two weeks since its August 28 launch, Shut Down DC has flourished into a citywide revolt against climate catastrophe. Visit strikedc.org/index.php/press/ for updates and previous announcements. 

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For Immediate Release
August 28, 2019

Climate Groups will Shut Down DC with Mass Nonviolent Civil Disobedience During the Youth Global Climate Strike and UN Climate Summit this September

Washington, D.C., August 28 – Youth leaders from around the world have called for a Global Climate Strike and week of action from September 20-27. Youth have led the way so far, but now they are calling on everyone to take action alongside them. In Washington, D.C. we are answering that call in a major way: on September 23, we are going to Shut Down D.C.

While countries deliberate the fate of the world at the U.N. Action Climate Summit in New York City, a coalition of climate groups and allies will bring traffic and business as usual to a standstill in the nation’s capital. Parents, workers, students and everyone who is concerned about global heating will skip work and school and put off their other responsibilities to take action on the climate crisis.

The multi-site blockade will demand sweeping action from the U.S. Government to address the climate emergency. The event is a response to youth calls for a Global Climate Strike and will follow a student-led march to Congress on September 20. The Shut Down D.C. kickoff meeting is taking place today at 7 PM at the Friends Meeting House in Washington, D.C. near Dupont Circle. The next meeting will be on September 4 at 6:30 PM at the same place.

“[Politicians] ignore our will as voters, our rallies, our calls to action and even our pleas, so I am no longer interested in asking,” said Kathleen Brophy, who is an organizer with 350 DC. In the past, Brophy has worked with communities affected by oil extraction and witnessed the devastation it had locally. “The severity of the issue and the complete lack of response from elected officials necessitates mass civil disobedience,” she said. 

The blockades are being organized by a coalition of activists from different climate and social justice organizations including Extinction Rebellion DC, 350 DC, Rising Tide North America, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, the Movement for a People’s Party, Backbone Campaign, Code Pink and the Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee. 

This spring, more than 1.4 million young people in 123 countries went on strike to demand that governments reverse the climate crisis. This fall, Shut Down D.C. marks the start of an international wave of citywide climate shutdowns on October 7 in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam and New York City. 

The Earth’s life support systems are failing as global heating spawns innumerable crises. Millions are facing hunger and migration as their homes sink beneath the waves and farm land turns to desert. Biodiversity is plummeting and ecosystems are breaking down as a sixth mass extinction grips the planet. The oceans are acidifying and disease vectors are expanding. The Amazon Rainforest, which produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, is ablaze and nearing a tipping point of cascading collapse. Humanity has never faced a crisis of this magnitude and only immediate and transformative change can ensure our survival.

"Our children are calling to us. We must respond,” said Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith, in regards to the climate strikes. Across the world, frontline communities, indigenous peoples, communities of color, and the poor are bearing the brunt of a crisis caused by fossil fuel corporations and politicians. In recognition that decades of petitions, protests and phone calls have been all but ignored by our leaders, the action will use nonviolent civil disobedience to elevate the demands to a level of urgency that matches the crisis.

This September there are over 600 events taking place worldwide in support of the Global Climate Strike, and more than 130 across the United States. 

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