Over 60 protesters were arrested at a climate change demonstration near City Hall this morning. Organized by Extinction Rebellion, an international protest movement demanding dramatic action on climate change, today’s action kicked off a planned “Week of Rebellion” in New York City. The group, which started in England in late 2018, has been using roadblocks and glue to disrupt parts of central London for three days. The New York City chapter began today's demonstration with a rally including chants, signs, chalk writing on the sidewalk, and a band.
Approximately 60 protesters, including a six-month pregnant woman, joined in a symbolic die-in on Centre Street. Two men also climbed light poles to tie a large sheet reading “Declare Climate Emergency” with the Extinction Rebellion logo on the bottom.
In January, Extinction Rebellion protesters held a smaller demonstration at the rink at Rockefeller Center, resulting in nine arrests.
Activists at today’s protest called upon the City of New York to formally “declare a climate emergency with an aggressive target for reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions and drawdown,” along with an “immediate emergency mobilization” to ensure a safe climate.
Globally, the Extinction Rebellion has four main demands, including reducing greenhouse gases to net zero by 2025, making a citizen’s assembly to instigate the changes put forth to prevent climate change, and establishing climate justice.
“Obviously the government has not done enough within the amount of time they’ve had to do something," Christina See, the press liaison for Extinction Rebellion NYC, told Gothamist. "We’ve known about this for years, scientists have known about this for years, and yet nothing has happened."
Protester Ellie Irons brought her 9 week old daughter to the demonstration. “There are moms around the world right now who don’t have the privileges I have in terms of being able to feed my child, having a home that’s not under threat from flooding or erratic climate,” Irons said. “I cannot imagine the pain of not being able to provide for [my daughter] and so I’m out here in solidarity with this movement here in New York City to pressure our elected officials and our government."
Nydia Leaf, a member of the Granny Peace Brigade, said, “I am a grandmother and I feel a responsibility that my generation has not done what it could to wake up the world.”
An NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist 62 people were arrested at the die-in, which blocked motor vehicle traffic on Centre Street. The demonstration wrapped up around 11 a.m., as the arrested protestors lined up for the NYPD bus. 60 protesters were charged with disorderly conduct and two were charged with reckless endangerment, the spokesperson said.
— Rise and Resist (@riseandresistny) April 17, 2019
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the last five years have been the hottest ever recorded. In an alarming report issued last year, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that "global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050” to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming.
People in over 80 cities in 33 countries are participating in Extinction Rebellion’s International Week of Rebellion, the organization claims. There will be other events taking place in New York City including a Rebellion Week Picnic and an Earth Love Fest this week.
Also today, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a powerful new video explaining what the Green New Deal proposal would mean for future generations: