Climate change activists block Washington’s streets


Protesters block traffic near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. A broad coalition of climate and social justice organizations are disrupting the morning rush hour commute. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of activists blocked major intersections across the nation’s capital on Monday, demanding immediate government action on climate change.

Under the banner of ShutDownDC, a broad coalition of activist groups sought to bring the morning traffic in Washington to a standstill.

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested 26 people who were blocking the entrance to a major tunnel.

Elsewhere, about three blocks from the White House, activists parked a yellow and pink sailboat in the middle of the intersection with several protesters handcuffed to the frame.

Russell Gray, a member of the activist group Extinction Rebellion, said his group was OK with upsetting people “as long as they’re thinking about climate change.”

“We’re here to disrupt business as usual,” Gray said. “We feel that’s our only recourse.”

Washington police have a standing policy to avoid mass arrests of protesters, if possible. Even those protesters who had to be cut free from the sailboat with welding equipment were not arrested.

George Davidson, the last protester cut free from the boat, received a cheer and a series of high-fives from his fellow protesters.

“I’m glad to be doing this,” said Davidson, who just graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in environmental policy. “If I have kids, I want to be able to look them in the eye and tell them I did everything I could.”

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