Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People vs Fossil Fuels

A protester defiantly raises her fist as she is taken into police custody on October 15, 2021, the final day of the weeklong People vs. Fossil Fuels climate mobilization in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Andalou Agency via Getty Images)

'We're Not Stopping': Weeklong D.C. Climate Protests End With 650+ Arrests, Vows to Fight On

"There is no other planet to escape to. Water is life... They need to listen to the youth. They need to hear us speak our cries."

Brett Wilkins

Earth protectors and climate campaigners from across the continent Indigenous peoples call Turtle Island vowed to keep up the fight as they marched on Friday, the final day of action in the "People vs. Fossil Fuels Mobilization," a weeklong series of protests in Washington, D.C. in which over 600 demonstrators were arrested as they demanded that President Joe Biden and Congress act in the face of a planetary emergency.

"We need climate action now. We are out of time to address this issue."

More than 90 people were arrested Friday as Indigenous-led activists peacefully marched on the U.S. Capitol under banners with slogans including "we did not vote for fossil fuels" and "Biden, real solutions, no bullshit," while protesters called on Biden to declare a climate emergency. The Build Back Fossil Free coalition, which organized the mobilization, said Friday's arrests brought the week's total to 655.

"Corporations raised you up, but we will make you fall," demonstrators sang—apparently targeting Big Oil-backed members of Congress—as they blocked one of the Capitol's parking lots. "You picked a war with a generation, does it weigh on you at all?"

Love Hopkins, a 10-year-old member of the Standing Rock Youth Council who in 2016 ran from Standing Rock to Washington, D.C. with other young Indigenous people, said, "We're not messing around... I came here to stand with my people to give voice to future generations."

"For years the U.S. government has been lying and giving false hopes to our First Nations people," Hopkins added. "We want answers and we want them now. If this is the land of the free and the land of opportunity, why can't we have that? Why can't we have clean drinking water?"

Morgan Brings Plenty, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, said that "there is no other planet to escape to. Water is life... They need to listen to the youth. They need to hear us speak our cries."

Mingyang Wei, a 14-year-old youth leader with Sunrise Movement D.C., said that "it is a shame that we still have to be here. It is a disgrace. How has this been going on so long? It has been going on because corporate greed has taken priority over the value of people in this country."

Zanagee Artis, co-executive director of Zero Hour, another youth-led climate justice group, lamented that "we made a choice to vote for a president who said that he would be the climate president, who said that he would stop pipelines, and right now we are seeing a betrayal from the White House and Congress."

"We need climate action now. We are out of time to address this issue," Artis continued. "I campaigned for Biden. I called voters in Philadelphia. Black and brown people voted in droves, young people voted in record numbers for a president who promised action on climate change. Now he has the power to revoke the permits for Line 3 and he has not. He has the power to stop DAPL and he has not. He has the power to revoke fossil fuel leases and he has not."

Isabelle Marie Knife, an Indigenous #StopLine3 campaigner, said: "Biden promised, just like they've done in the past, to bring us to the table, but where's our seat? We haven't been heard, they haven't listened."

"It takes youth to be on the frontlines to make our voices heard," she continued. "We are the generation that says enough is enough, we will be heard, we will have a seat at the table. They tell us lies, they come on our lands, they promise this, they promise that."

"Well, I promise you," vowed Knife, "we've got a new generation coming and we're not stopping."


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.

Michigan Judge Blocks Enforcement of 'Chilling and Dangerous' 1931 Abortion Ban

The decision is a "welcome" development "but our work continues," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, vowing to use "every tool in my toolbox to fight like hell for women and healthcare providers."

Jessica Corbett ·


Tlaib Says Biden Must 'Hold Israel Accountable' for Raid on Palestinian Rights Groups

"The silence by our country is enabling more death and violence," said the U.S. congresswoman.

Jake Johnson ·


Corporate Media Mostly Mum as US Strikes Kill at Least 20 in Somalia

"This is a completely under-the-radar news story, one that was curiously absent from the headlines in all of the major newspapers this morning," wrote one expert after the latest U.S. strike on Somalia.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Terrible Idea': Biden Preparing to Shift Costs of Covid Treatments, Vaccines to Patients

"We must push back," said one doctor. "Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important."

Kenny Stancil ·


Trump-Appointed Judge Permanently Blocks Biden's Oil and Gas Leasing Moratorium

Fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters has accounted for an estimated 25% of all U.S. carbon emissions since 2005.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo