climate protesters
© Twitter/Unicorn Riot
People chained themselves to ladders at Massachusetts Avenue at 18th Street as part of the climate protests Sept. 23, 2019.
D.C. police arrested at least 26 climate protesters who used a sailboat, vans, cars and sit-ins Monday to block key intersections around the District.

Chances are likely that, if you're driving, you're going to see some kind of delay.

"If you're coming in anywhere near the National Mall, you're going to be impacted by this," NBC4's Adam Tuss told WTOP.

Drivers heading into D.C. from Virginia have been hit the hardest.

Protesters are blocking or impeding traffic at 14th and C streets SW, 16th and I streets, 18th and Massachusetts Avenue and the 700 Block of New Jersey Avenue. New York Avenue remains blocked at North Capitol Street, Florida Avenue and 4th Street.

At 12th and Independence Avenue, protesters used a large pink and yellow sailboat to close the road.


Authorities began cutting the metal the protesters had bound themselves to the sailboat around 8:30 a.m. They covered protesters in blankets and put headphones on them for protection. The protesters had been freed by 10 a.m. and it was towed away after.

The protests have sparked a significant police presence. And arrests have been made.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said protesters who closed New York Avenue were given warnings before they were arrested.

"The arrests at 3rd and New York, as you know that's a major artery into the city. It was inconveniencing thousands of people," Newsham said on WTOP.

At least 26 people have been arrested so far. They'll be charged with blocking an intersection and, so far, that's as serious as the charges get.

There are no reports of injuries and protesters have not caused any significant damage.

Shut Down D.C. aims to block "key infrastructure to stop business-as-usual, bringing the whole city to a gridlocked standstill," organizers said on its website. That includes over a dozen intersections in the District "where corporate and government power holders who are blocking serious action on climate are located," they said.

A news release from the Coalition to Shut Down D.C. listed meeting spots for different groups organizing the protest in all four quadrants of D.C.

Protesters started gathering just before 7 a.m. at four key locations: in Northwest at Farragut Square; at Columbus Circle in Southwest; at Hancock Park/L'Enfant Metro station; and at Folger Park.

Community Advisory Commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green told WTOP's Melissa Howell that he felt it was important for someone east of the river to come to the protest.

"I live in far Northeast, that's where I grew up ... near the Pepco Plant which was decommissioned in 2012," he said. "We were always told by our grandparents that, 'The reason you have asthma is because of where we live.'"

He says one of the reasons communities like his have certain health conditions is due to the prevalence of lead in the housing there.

Black Lives Matter lead organizer Makia Green echoed those sentiments and emphasized action.

"The theme of today is, how would you act if your house was on fire?" she said. "Would you sit here and start talking and arguing about tactics or would you start moving?"

"This is an actual emergency right now, and if we don't start investing in health today, we are not going to be in any place to combat climate disaster in the future."

Left-wing nonprofit Unicorn Riot is livestreaming its protest.

Metro DC DSA is also covering it.
protester
© Periscope/Unicorn Riot
A protester locks his arms around the window frames of a car at 14th and C streets SW.
Unrelated to the protest, but sure to cause some delays in Monday commute times: The northbound lanes on U.S. Route 1 in Prince William County will undergo a lane shift as part of an ongoing widening project.

How mass transit may be affected

The Maryland Transit Association said that due to the protests, commuters could see delays on certain MARC trains.

"Contractors will make every effort to serve all stops, but detours are a possibility, due to these protests," MTA said on its website.

Amtrak recommended riders plan extra times into their commute to account for any possible disruption caused by the protests.