Climate protests bring gridlock to DC morning traffic

Climate change activists shut down traffic in the nation’s capital Monday, blocking key intersections across Washington, DC, to bring attention to their cause.

The #ShutdownDC action was part of the global climate strikes young activists have been leading since Friday, to spur government action on the climate crisis.

Meanwhile, in New York, the UN was planning to host its Climate Action Summit on Monday. Secretary-General António Guterres challenged world leaders to share “concrete, realistic plans” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In Washington, reporter Sam Sweeney of CNN affiliate WJLA tweeted that traffic was gridlocked in the morning and police had made some arrests.

Protesters blocked 16th Street Northwest at K Street Northwest. They secured themselves to a boat in the middle of the intersection and were being removed by police a couple of blocks from the White House.

A climate change activist group, Extinction Rebellion Washington DC, posted a video on Twitter.

“WE WANT CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW!!” the group wrote.

The group then marched up Connecticut Avenue toward DuPont Circle.

Others sat in a crosswalk at Independence Avenue Southwest and 14th Street, tweeted WJLA’s Kristen Powers.

“Activists say this is the only way to gain attention of lawmakers,” she wrote.

In addition to shutting down traffic, the activists urged people to strike, too.

“We will block key infrastructure to stop business-as-usual, bringing the whole city to a gridlocked standstill,” the activists write on the website “Parents, workers, college students, and everyone who is concerned about the climate crisis will skip work and school and put off their other responsibilities to take action on the climate crisis.”

The activists also want people to sign a “Pledge of Resistance” that, along with promising to strike and try to shut down traffic, also requires people to ask their friends and family to participate.

Here’s how the government will handle this

Washington’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said it was aware of plans to intentionally disrupt traffic and would activate DC’s Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the city’s response.

“Although we are unaware of specific locations that will be impacted, there is the potential for traffic delays and disruptions throughout the District,” a post on the management agency’s website said.

Commuters were urged to take public transportation, plan alternate routes, sign up for free text or email alerts on traffic and report suspicious activity to the police.