While other climate activists around the world have made their statements recently by damaging valuable art with food, demonstrators in Midtown on Tuesday took a more conventional approach: Blocking traffic to get their points across.
The end result of the Oct. 25 protest was the same as others, however, as the NYPD arrested 15 of the demonstrators for illegally occupying the intersection of Park Avenue and East 52nd Street.
The large group of protesters clutched hands with one another and blocked traffic within the intersection while demanding immediate action regarding climate change. Protesters spread themselves across both downtown and uptown lanes, waving banners and chanting, “Tax the rich!”
The action occurred just days before the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy wreaking devastating havoc upon New York and the northeastern U.S. Members of New York Communities for Change are using the anniversary to call upon Governor Kathy Hochul to fund the Green New Deal by taxing the wealthy.
“We know she [Hochul] knows that she’s in a reelection campaign right now, and we hope that she recognizes that a key voting block that she could help lock down are progressive Democrats who are frustrated with her current lack of climate action, and who want to see her enact the solution. So, we know she has the power to do so. So, we’re calling on the governor to step up, to do her part, to be the climate hero that we know she can be and enact this tax on the rich to pay for a Green New Deal,” Alice Ho of Communities for Change told amNewYork Metro.
Furious motorists, on the other hand, weren’t amused by the display. They honked and even spat at protesters as they attempted to intimidate the human blockade. Still, the demonstrators remained undeterred, with one individual even pressing themselves against a truck in order to stop it advancing.
Enter the NYPD. After about 30 minutes, police officers warned the protesters to disband or face arrest. The activists stood firm and ignored the commands — and one by one, had handcuffs placed upon their wrists without further incident.
Protesters say they hope this action will convince the governor to push for funding of the Green New Deal. This demonstration is just one of many to occur along Fifth Avenue and other areas this week until Oct. 29. In response to this, the Governor’s office highlighted the ways in which they believe Hochul has been committed to fighting climate change.
“New York has set ambitious climate goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and is on a path to reduce emissions 85% economy-wide by 2050. The Hochul administration is committed to fighting climate change because we’re not just the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, we’re also the last generation that can do something to combat it,” a spokesperson for the Governor said.