Climate Change Activists Shut Down D.C. Traffic

Climate Change Activists Shut Down D.C. Traffic

Road shutdowns rarely happen. But when they do, expect that they have compelling reasons. 

In Washington D.C., various activists gathered on the streets and disrupted the flow of traffic and commuting public. These mass demonstrations happen throughout the state. It took place just days after the Global Climate Strike rallies, which was participated by thousands of people–including a significant number of school children. 

The rally was entitled “Shut Down D.C.” The goal of this protest is to hamper all the systems and activities that are said to contribute to the perpetuating climate change. To make their presence felt, these protesters did block major thoroughfares in the city to cause intentional traffic build-up.

Of course, the police did not let this incident slide. 

Throughout the duration of the rally, there were twenty-six (26) people that have been arrested. Most of them were nabbed in intersections like the New York Avenue, Florida Avenue Northeast; North Capitol Street; and the K and 16th Streets Northwest. The Metropolitan Police Department was fast in seizing those protesters that were deemed “too disruptive” already. 

The height of the protest took place in midmorning. By noon, most of the blockades that the protesters erected were already dispatched and removed. 

Various videos surfaced in different social media platforms that show the demonstrators waving their banners and flags, of which all have written messages like “Road Closed Climate Emergency.” They even brought a boat in one of the intersections, which was painted pink and embellished with other materials.

While it is true the advocacy of this mass demonstration is wholesome, there are lots of people that complained about it. Of course, these are the commuters and travelers that have been delayed due to the blockades the protesters made. 

It has been reported that the majority of the bus system of D.C. has been impaled because of the traffic. 

The group that organized the rally has a website that detailed their entire plans for their demonstration. In there, it was specified that all participants should meet in the early hours of Monday in different locations in Washington, D.C. These locations are chosen strategically, as they all contain intersections that have high-volumes of daily traffic and extremely busy metro lines.

It was also highlighted that the group had plans to near the Capitol Hill, ICE Headquarters, and even the White House.

Up to now, the total extent of the disruption and damage caused by the said rally is still not clear. 

There are various comments that have been made regarding this incident. 

Dave Dildine, a traffic reporter of the WTOP News, stated that the activity had created massive delays in traffic and transactions. 

“It’s anyone’s guess if they will actually cause widespread traffic delays. Causing ‘gridlock’ wouldn’t be as easy as blocking a random intersection or two,” the reporter said. 

Amtrak, on the other hand, already warned their riders that their morning trip would be disrupted because of the said rally. Their announcement was made via a Twitter post. 

“Amtrak customers using Washington, D.C. (WAS) Union Station tomorrow (9/23) should allow extra time because of planned protests and expected traffic issues,” the tweet mentioned.

The Maryland Department of Transportation made early announcements about the possible traffic delays due to the mass protests. 

This particular group is actually a coalition of a myriad of environmental activists operating in the district. They are demanding that immediate and sustainable climate change programs prevent the impending catastrophes brought by this phenomenon. Furthermore, they are also seeking government actions to ensure that by 2030, the United States is already 100% reliant on renewable energy sources. 

Some of the protestors are also requesting that the government should also acknowledge the rights of the indigenous people to their inherited lands. 

“It’s Washington, D.C. The decisions that are made in this town don’t just affect the people in the U.S., they affect the globe every day,” according to Liz Butler–one of the organizers of the rally. 

“I think people around the world are counting on us to be able to stand up in D.C,” she followed. 

The protest coincided with the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which took place in New York. In that summit, various global leaders met and discussed different practical and realistic approaches in mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change in general.

Even President Donal Trump, who previously said that he would withdraw the United States from the ratified 2019 Paris Agreement, made a sudden and unexpected appearance in the summit.