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WATCH: The Most Memorable Moments From The ‘Shut Down DC’ Climate March

By  Emily Zanotti
An anti-Capitalism protest

Climate change activists took to the streets of Washington, D.C., Monday morning to grind the gears of government to a halt with a “#ShutDownDC” strike at rush hour — but they may not have been quite as effective as initially hoped.

The rally was loosely affiliated with last weeks’ “Climate Strike” student marches and aimed to “shut down” the country’s capital, “disrupt the systems that created and perpetuate the climate crisis,” and block commuters from getting to their jobs by staging sit down protests and impromptu dance parties in key areas of the city.

The group planned to “shut down” “high-volume intersections, busy metro lines and Union Station,” and “planned to gather near the White House, Capitol Hill and ICE headquarters” beause the march was “intersectional” and featured a pro-immigration contingent.

By noon, around 26 people had been arrested, per USA Today, but not much of DC had been disrupted. DC police told media that most of the blockades had been cleared by early afternoon, including the largest blockade at 16th and K Street. Some commuters reported three hour drives into work, but the lack of complaints about snarled traffic on social media belied a major flaw in the protesters’ strategy: those most affected by “ShutdownDC” were low-income workers who have no work-from-home option, not lobbyists and aides who can operate remotely.

But while the #ShutDownDC march might not have accomplished its aims — namely to bring an immediate halt to the practice of capitalism in order to save the Earth — it did provide a measure of entertainment to its social media audience. And there were definitely some highlights:

First and foremost, the “face” of #ShutDownDC belongs to a group called “WERK for Peace,” which was established, its Twitter feed says, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting and sees its mission as bringing love to the world through interpretive dance (this is a real non-profit that has staff and a budget). They provided on-the-scene dance instruction so that climate marchers could twerk in unison to stop corporate pollution. Or something.

Prepare your eyeballs.

At one point on the parade route, #ShutDownDC marchers battled pollution by littering the streets (and the primary twerker) with colored confetti (which they did not clean up afterward, according to bystanders).

Marchers were, apparently, protesting the construction of new oil pipelines designed to bring shale oil from Canada’s tar sands across thousands of miles to major ports and refineries. They may have already lost the battle; although the several pipelines tasked with carrying the oil may be delayed, Canada still intends to pump out its shale oil.

But twerking against carbon emissions wasn’t the only event happening in Washington, D.C., Monday morning. The “youth-driven” anti-carbon crusade also fought man-made climate change by chaining a bunch of handicapped Baby Boomers to a plastic sailboat.

DC police were forced to use gas guzzling portable generators to remove the protesters (and their boat).

Speaking of gas guzzling, the climate marchers blocked at least one intersection with the world’s last remaining conversion van, which cannot possibly be an eco-friendly, energy efficient vehicle.

And as usual, the march had its share of mission creep. Although “#ShutDownDC” purported to be an event designed to bring attention to a heating climate, attendees seemed oddly focused on “smashing captialism,” “eating the rich” (or killing them as the case may be), and agitating for open borders.

Fortunately for those who rely on fossil fuels to survive, that protester doesn’t appear to have any muscle mass, and would probably be loathe to actually drag a lobbyist from his home to a guillotine, even if he did use his art degree to construct a working one.

There was also, appropriately, a Dumpster fire.

And a visit from Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, who showed up to the event dressed as a giant bee in a costume she apparently borrowed from a middle schooler.

Unfortunately, there are no further public events planned for the anti-Climate Change groups. The party will now move to New York City, where activists will agitate for stricter global environmental policies at the United Nations.

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