Cars stuck on Washington DC highway as climate protest blocks traffic

Seven people have been arrested, police say

Gino Spocchia
Monday 04 April 2022 20:58
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Climate protest blocks Washington DC highway

Climate protesters blocked the northbound lane of the Interstate 395 in Washington DC, briefly bringing the morning commute to a standstill.

On Monday, protesters from an unnamed climate change group were seen holding a banner reading: “Declare an emergency”, and sat down in front of traffic.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) told The Independent that the demonstration began at about 9.45am and ended within an hour.

Video circulating on social media appeared to show cars backed-up for hundreds of meters not far from the US capital, with sirens heard in the background.

Seven arrests were made for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding,” and the highway was reopened in both directions, the department added.

Demonstrators were allegedly calling for President Joe Biden and lawmakers in Congress to declare an emergency for the climate following the publication of another report with alarm bells for the planet.

That report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday warned countries around the world that current pledges to stop temperatures from rising were unlikely to limit warming to 1.5 C.

A rise of 1.5 C is the benchmark set by multiple global climate agreements including those signed in Paris and in Glasgow during Cop26. The United States is among the signatories.

Although it was unclear which climate organisation the highway protesters belonged to, the blockade mirrored similar protests seen across Europe and the US in recent years.

Such demonstrations have led to countries including the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Bangladesh, and Argentina declaring climate emergencies amid calls for further action to rescue emissions.

The IPCC report said there must be “rapid, deep and immediate” cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and stressed there was hope that policy and technology – including investments in public transport – would enable the world to meet climate targets.

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