Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

"While this action was symbolic, it wasn't just a symbol, it was a signal," said Break Free Albany organizer Marla Marcum. "It's a signal that business as usual is over." (Photo: Break Free/Brooke Anderson | Survival Media Agency/flickr/cc)

'Not a Symbol, A Signal': Wave of Direct Actions Points to Fossil-Free Future

On final day of two-week Break Free mobilization, demonstrations take place in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Turkey, and beyond

Deirdre Fulton

Mass arrests took place during the weekend's Break Free actions around the world, and more demonstrations were happening on Sunday, the final day of a global wave of actions calling for a just transition away from fossil fuels. 

More than 100 people were arrested Sunday at a coal mine in Germany, the site of a three-day mobilization that saw close to 4,000 participants total—"unprecedented in Europe," noted 350 Europe, which released this video summing up the protest:

Meanwhile, in Anacortes, Washington, 52 people were arrested early Sunday morning when police raided the Break Free encampment and blockade of the train tracks leading to nearby oil refineries. 

A press statement from organizers noted that there is "No word yet on charges for those responsible for the climate crisis. Shell and Tesoro officials are still at large."

Oil train blockaders in Albany, New York, called it a day around midnight on Saturday, after having successfully shut down crude oil train traffic in the city for nearly 12 hours. Police officers in Albany had opted not to make arrests, though five people were taken into custody earlier in the day.

"While this action was symbolic, it wasn't just a symbol, it was a signal," said Break Free Albany organizer Marla Marcum. "It's a signal that business as usual is over. The campaign to ban bomb trains will continue, and our pursuit of a swift and just transition away from fossil fuels will equal the urgency of the climate change crisis we face. We'll be back."

Break Free actions continued Sunday in Turkey, where thousands demonstrated against new coal plants; near Chicago, where people from around the Midwest will protest toxic oil and gas infrastructure that puts lives and livelihoods at risk; and Washington, D.C., where the demand is to end offshore drilling and keep fossil fuels in the ground. The 88,200-gallon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this week gave that call additional urgency, wrote Greenpeace's Ryan Schleeter on Saturday. 

Follow the actions on Twitter:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Ocasio-Cortez: Maloney Should Quit DCCC Post If He Runs Against Mondaire Jones

"It's completely inappropriate" for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to be in charge of the House Democrats' campaign arm "if he's going to challenge another member," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kenny Stancil ·


War, Disasters Drive 'All-Time High' of Nearly 60 Million Displaced in Home Nations

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council noted the situation "is phenomenally worse than even our record figure suggests" because it does not include those forced to flee Russia's assault on Ukraine.

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Climate Movement Warn Nations Have Just 6 Months to End Fossil Fuel Finance

"The pandemic has shown that governments can rapidly mobilize massive sums of public money," says one campaigner. "This is the moment to do it, and accelerate the transition."

Brett Wilkins ·


Analysis: 26 US Billionaires Paid Average Tax Rate of Just 4.8% in Recent Years

"When you include their untaxed wealth growth in the calculation, many billionaires pay almost nothing," said Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness.

Jake Johnson ·


'We Were Expecting This,' Says Family After Israel Says No Criminal Probe Into Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

The development came as leading international artists called for "meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians."

Andrea Germanos ·

Common Dreams Logo