Dozens of activists protesting against fossil fuel projects were arrested Thursday in Washington, DC, after staging a Home Office sit-in, a move that resulted in “multiple injuries” and at least one officer police transported to a hospital.
Demanding that President Biden declare climate change an emergency, People vs. Fossil Fuels, the group behind the protest, has staged a series of weeklong protests against the president as he approves different fossil fuel projects.
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Following the protest, Home Office spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz issued a statement through a series of tweets.
“Early this afternoon, a group of protesters entered the main Stewart Lee Udall interior building,” Schwartz wrote. “Federal Protective Service personnel intervened in the area to alleviate the situation. Security personnel were wounded several times and an officer was transported to a nearby hospital. Doctors representing both the department and the protesters were present.”
Schwartz also noted that Home Secretary Deb Haaland was not in Washington during the protest and insisted that the department leadership “strongly believes in respecting and defending the right to free speech. and a peaceful demonstration “.
According to video footage from Ellie Silverman of the Washington Post, activists could be seen climbing the doors and pushing back the officers as they attempted to force entry into the Home Office.
Andy Ngô, a conservative journalist who often covers Antifa-related events, shared one of Silverman’s videos. He described the scene in the federal building as “reminiscent of January 6,” noting that officers were forced to draw their stun guns as “extreme environmental protesters” tried to force their way inside.
Organizers of the event alleged that “police had hit and beat several people with batons” and that “55 people were arrested and taken to DC Metro police stations.”
“The police acted aggressively with the water guards and indigenous leaders, hitting at least two people and hitting others with batons,” the group said. “An independent indigenous media outlet was attacked by the police and its equipment was broken. “
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Fox News contacted the Federal Protective Service (FPS) and received the following statement:
Yesterday, agents of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) of the Department of Homeland Security responded to a demonstration at the Stewart L. Udall building. The FPS is committed to ensuring the safety of protesters participating in legal protests and fully supports the peaceful expression of all. The SPF will continue to pursue its mission of ensuring the safety and security of federal employees and facilities, in accordance with the law. “
In the statement, the FPS also thanked the US Parks Police and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department for assisting in efforts “to detain, prosecute or take action against anyone who caused damage and attempted to disrupt operations. from the federal government yesterday “.