Protesters charged after unfurling banner atop DC crane

Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads “Resist” at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
The scene at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The scene at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the scene at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads “Resist” at the scene at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
One of two protesters hanging 15 stories up, climbed back to the crane shortly before noon. Another was swinging in the air. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
One of two protesters hanging 15 stories up, climbed back to the crane shortly before noon. Another was swinging in the air. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads “Resist” at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
A banner unfurled by Greenpeace demonstrators that reads "Resist" is seen at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A banner unfurled by Greenpeace demonstrators that reads “Resist” is seen at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
A banner unfurled by Greenpeace demonstrators that reads "Resist" is seen at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A banner unfurled by Greenpeace demonstrators that reads “Resist” is seen at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
A view of the "Resist" banner from the Adams Morgan section of D.C. (Sent in by a WTOP listener)
A view of the “Resist” banner from the Adams Morgan section of D.C. (Sent in by a WTOP listener) (Sent in by a WTOP listener)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads “Resist” at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Protesters from Greenpeace unfurl a banner reading "Resist" from a construction crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters from Greenpeace unfurl a banner reading “Resist” from a construction crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters from Greenpeace unfurl a banner reading "Resist" on a construction crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters from Greenpeace unfurl a banner reading “Resist” on a construction crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A protester hangs off a crane while unfurling a sign Wednesday morning in downtown D.C. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A protester hangs off a crane while unfurling a sign Wednesday morning in downtown D.C. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters sit in a crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. Greenpeace says seven of their activists are hanging a "Resist" banner above the White House. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters sit in a crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. Greenpeace says seven of their activists are hanging a “Resist” banner above the White House. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters on a crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters on a crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters climbed a crane in downtown D.C. (Courtesy Bill Shore)
Protesters climbed a crane in downtown D.C. (Courtesy Bill Shore) (Courtesy Bill Shore)
Police gather on the street as protesters climb a crane in downtown D.C. (Courtesy Bill Shore) (Courtesy Bill Shore)
Here's what the scene looks like. (Courtesy Bill Shore)
Here’s what the scene looks like. (Courtesy Bill Shore) (Courtesy Bill Shore)
An airplane flies by the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, where Greenpeace protesters unfurled a banner that reads "Resist." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
An airplane flies by the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, where Greenpeace protesters unfurled a banner that reads “Resist.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
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Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The scene at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the scene at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
One of two protesters hanging 15 stories up, climbed back to the crane shortly before noon. Another was swinging in the air. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A banner unfurled by Greenpeace demonstrators that reads "Resist" is seen at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A banner unfurled by Greenpeace demonstrators that reads "Resist" is seen at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A view of the "Resist" banner from the Adams Morgan section of D.C. (Sent in by a WTOP listener)
Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, after police say protesters climbed a crane at the site refusing to allow workers to work in the area.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Protesters from Greenpeace unfurl a banner reading "Resist" from a construction crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters from Greenpeace unfurl a banner reading "Resist" on a construction crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A protester hangs off a crane while unfurling a sign Wednesday morning in downtown D.C. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters sit in a crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday morning. Greenpeace says seven of their activists are hanging a "Resist" banner above the White House. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters on a crane in downtown D.C. Wednesday. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Protesters climbed a crane in downtown D.C. (Courtesy Bill Shore)
Here's what the scene looks like. (Courtesy Bill Shore)
An airplane flies by the construction site of the former Washington Post building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, where Greenpeace protesters unfurled a banner that reads "Resist." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON  — Seven protesters from the environmental group Greenpeace are facing charges after they unfurled a banner at the top of a 270-foot crane in downtown Washington on Wednesday morning in an act of protest that lasted nearly the entire day.

The seven protesters, who allegedly gained access to the crane by breaking locks, have been charged with second-degree burglary, unlawful entry and destruction of property, D.C. police said.

The banner, which read “Resist,”  hung for hours from the crane at a downtown construction site blocks from the White House much of the morning. Protesters began dismantling it shortly after 1 p.m., but it wasn’t until about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday that the banner was completely rolled up. The protesters finally came down from the crane a little after 10 p.m. The incident sparked road closures in the area most of the day.

Greenpeace media officer Jason Schwartz told WTOP that it took the activists — who he called “extremely experienced climbers” — a while to descend because they wanted to make sure they could get down safely with all of their equipment. Schwartz also said the climb had started before dawn.

The protest came a day after President Donald Trump’s administration moved to delay implementation of at least 30 environmental rules and froze new Environmental Protection Agency contracts and grant awards. Protesters on the ground said they’re concerned about issues that include the environment, abortion and immigration.

Greenpeace said in a statement that the banner was meant to be seen from the White House, “calling for those who want to resist Trump’s attacks on environmental, social, economic, and educational justice to contribute to a better America.”

D.C. police said in a statement that while they “respect everyone’s right to protest,” they characterized the banner-hanging as “dangerous behavior” and “unlawful.”

“Remember that non-violent direct action and protest are American traditions,” Greenpeace’s Schwartz added. “There tends to be a weird, knee-jerk reaction to things like this that wants to label it as violent or something that’s not peaceful — just remember that this is our First Amendment at work.”

WTOP’s Michelle Basch, Jack Moore and Teta Alim and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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