Arrests made as climate change protest descends on Wall Street in NYC with goal of civil disobedience

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — One day after protesters took to the Upper East Side to march against fossil fuels, many are demonstrating on Wall Street to draw attention to climate change.

By noon on Monday, multiple climate protesters were arrested and taken into custody outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York building. Police threatened more would be arrested if they don’t leave.

The aim of the protesters is to demand an end to fossil fuel financing from outside the largest financial institutions and the New York Stock Exchange.

“Despite scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is the primary driver of global warming, the world’s 60 biggest banks poured over $5.5 trillion into the fossil fuel industry since the signing of the Paris Agreement, driving climate chaos and causing deadly local community impacts,” said New York Communities for Change in a press release.

Activists said they were willing to risk being arrested for their cause.

“Civil disobedience means potentially risking arrest to call attention to the morality of funding the fossil fuel industry, contributing to climate change, which is already killing tens of thousands of people and will potentially kill millions more,” said Jonathan Westin of Climate Organizing Hub.

On Sunday, yelling that the future and their lives depend on ending fossil fuels, tens of thousands of protesters on kicked off a week where leaders will try once again to curb climate change primarily caused by coal, oil and natural gas.

But protesters say it’s not going to be enough. And they aimed their wrath directly at U.S. President Joe Biden, urging him to stop approving new oil and gas projects, phase out current ones and declare a climate emergency with larger executive powers.

“We hold the power of the people, the power you need to win this election,” said 17-year-old Emma Buretta of Brooklyn of the youth protest group Fridays for Future. “If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.”

The March to End Fossil Fuels featured such politicians as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and actors Susan Sarandon, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Kyra Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon. But the real action on Broadway was where protesters crowded the street, pleading for a better but not-so-hot future. It was the opening salvo to New York’s Climate Week, where world leaders in business, politics and the arts gather to try to save the planet, highlighted by a new special United Nations summit Wednesday.

Organizers estimated 75,000 people marched Sunday.

“We have people all across the world in the streets, showing up, demanding a cessation of what is killing us,” Ocasio-Cortez told a cheering crowd. “We have to send a message that some of us are going to be living on, on this planet 30, 40, 50 years from now. And we will not take no for an answer.”

Dana Fisher explains what the protesters hope to achieve on Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10:

This protest was far more focused on fossil fuels and the industry than previous marches. Sunday’s rally attracted a large chunk, 15%, of first-time protesters and was overwhelmingly female, said American University sociologist Dana Fisher, who studies environmental movements and was surveying march participants.

Of the people Fisher talked to, 86% had experienced extreme heat recently, 21% floods and 18% severe drought, she said. They mostly reported feeling sad and angry. Earth has just gone through the hottest summer on record.

But oil and gas industry officials said their products are vital to the economy.

“We share the urgency of confronting climate change together without delay; yet doing so by eliminating America’s energy options is the wrong approach and would leave American families and businesses beholden to unstable foreign regions for higher cost and far less reliable energy,” said American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President Megan Bloomgren.

(Information from the Associated Press)

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