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Climate activists clashed with police as protesters against fossil fuels tried to occupy a building of the U.S. Department of the Interior on Thursday—a stunt that sent at least one security officer in hospital.
Dozens of environmentalists managed to enter the Stewart Lee Udall Main Interior Building on Thursday. Those who could not clashed with police outside the building, The Washington Post reports.
Security personnel at the building sustained “multiple injuries” and one officer was taken to hospital, agency spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz told the Post.
The police made multiple arrests during the sit-in and the clashes, the Associated Press reported.
The climate campaigners demanded to speak with Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who was out of Washington D.C. at the time.
The protesters had descended on D.C. as part of the ‘People vs. Fossil Fuels’ campaign, which was urging activists that “From October 11 to 15, thousands of people will take action at the White House, participate in civil disobedience, and demand that President Biden choose a side: People vs. Fossil Fuels. Join us!”
The Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit conservation organization, said on Tuesday that many indigenous, climate, and conservation groups would join People vs Fossil Fuels actions at the White House this week, and would “call on President Biden to keep his promise to end federal fossil fuel leasing, drilling and mining on public lands and oceans. The federal fossil fuels programs are responsible for more than one quarter of U.S. climate emissions.”
“Interior Department leadership believes strongly in respecting and upholding the right to free speech and peaceful protest,” department spokeswoman Schwartz said in a statement as carried by the Washington Post.
“It is also our obligation to keep everyone safe. We will continue to do everything we can to de-escalate the situation while honoring first amendment rights,” she added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.