Environmental activists are hoping to bring Washington, D.C. to a "gridlocked standstill" next month with a massive act of civil disobedience aimed at disrupting business as usual and getting the attention of members of Congress standing in the way of bold climate action.
The #ShutDownDC day of action, scheduled for Sept. 23, is expected to include blockades at key intersections throughout the U.S. capital, according to a press release from the coalition of advocacy groups that organized the protest.
"The severity of the issue and the complete lack of response from elected officials necessitates mass civil disobedience," Kathleen Brophy, an organizer with 350.org, said in a statement.
The civil disobedience is expected to come during a week of youth-led global climate strikes, which are set to begin Sept. 20 and continue through Sept. 27.
The transition off of fossil fuels is inevitable; justice is not.
Join us in the streets September 23 to #ShutDownDC as part of the global #ClimateStrike and demand solutions that work for all of us #StrikeWithUs #Sept23https://t.co/dC95Zw55gt pic.twitter.com/p5dDwq5qkc
— Extinction Rebellion Washington DC (@XRebelDC) August 28, 2019
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Sean Haskett of the youth-led Sunrise Movement told The Guardian on Wednesday that the goal of the #ShutDownDC action is to "disrupt the workings of power."
"There's a tremendous amount of power that drives through those streets and parks next to those sidewalks and walks into those buildings," said Haskett. "We want them to think about what they're doing with that power."
The coalition behind the protest—which includes prominent organizations such as Extinction Rebellion D.C., Movement for a People's Party, and CodePink—acknowledged the blockades will likely "cause massive disruption to people who bear little responsibility for the climate catastrophe we are facing."
"But we will also cause massive disruption for politicians, huge corporations, and the lobbyists who control our government," the groups said on the website for the action. "We need to fundamentally change the power structure of the United States if we want to stop the climate crisis, and shutting down D.C. is a big step in the right direction."
According to organizers, the D.C. action will mark the beginning of an "international wave of citywide climate shutdowns" in major cities across the world, including London, Paris, and Berlin.
"There's no time left for business as usual; the climate crisis is here," the D.C. coalition said. "This is the mass uprising that everyone with climate anxiety has been waiting for. This is an uprising for life itself, fighting back against the forces of destruction."