Two groups of climate protesters were arrested en masse Monday after blocking highway traffic on opposite ends of New York City during rush hour.
Police arrested 45 protesters from the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion after the two groups used vehicles and human chains to block traffic on both FDR Drive and the West Side Highway for about an hour.
The groups were there to protest the removal of several key climate provisions from the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion spending package. The administration was forced to curtail or cut out several provisions because of opposition from Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. The Daily Wire previously reported that Manchin opposed including a ‘carbon tax’ on energy production, as well as an incentive-based clean energy initiative that would aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2030.
“Biden promised to cut emissions by half by 2030 and now the legislation that can make it happen, everything that is hanging on the future of life on the planet, is hanging on what’s happening in Congress and that’s been negotiated down,” one of the protesters told NBC4 New York.
“Dear commuters: we are interrupting traffic this morning not to annoy you, but to force the public to confront the true dangers of unchecked climate change,” Extinction Rebellion NYC tweeted. “If we do not act today, if @potus does not act today, NYC will be underwater by 2100. It’s a matter of life and death.”
“We are here today to tell @potus: We won’t stand by and watch our city drown!” The organization wrote in another tweet. “He pledged to cut US emissions in half by 2030, but now his climate agenda is on the brink of collapse in Congress. @joebiden must fight to fit the full climate agenda in #BuildBackBetter ahead of COP26[.]”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Sunrise Movement tweeted. “We shut down the West Side Highway this morning with @XR_NYC, @FFF_NYC_, and @JFREJNYC to demand @POTUS do everything he can to keep climate in Build Back Better. Biden leads or we drown[.]”
Police eventually arrived on the scene and arrested the protesters.
Climate protesters also demonstrated in Washington, D.C., earlier this month to demand the Biden administration take stronger action on climate change, leading to a total of 655 arrests in the week of Oct. 11-15. Fifty-five people were arrested during a sit-in at the Stewart Lee Udall Main Interior Building, home to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs on Oct.14. Officials stated at the time that multiple security personnel inside the buildings sustained injuries, and one security guard was hospitalized.
A protest at the Capitol building on Oct. 15 led to 90 people being arrested, including a left-wing activist and podcast host who tried to strike Capitol Police officers with a baseball bat, then bit an officer while being detained. It was later learned that she posted a picture of herself with the baseball bat to Twitter before the protests began that day.