1 arrested after scaling Wilson Building in DC climate protest

Climate activists gathered in the District on Friday, protesting fossil fuel dependency and calling for action this Earth Day.

Among the groups protesting Friday — a series of protests are planned — is Extinction Rebellion DC, which has launched a campaign against Washington Gas to oppose further investments in gas infrastructure. The group wants D.C. to transition away from methane gas and onto green energy.

A climate activist scaled the face of the Wilson Building on Friday morning in D.C. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez))

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez, reporting from the scene in downtown D.C., said a group of about 30 Extinction Rebellion demonstrators headed to the Wilson Building, which houses Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council, on Pennsylvania Avenue around 8 a.m.

There, one of the protesters scaled partway up the face of the Wilson Building to unfurl a large banner reading “No new fossil fuels” over the front entrance.

The protester who scaled the building popped an orange smoke flare. On the street below, demonstrators chanted: “The world is on fire, put the fire out.”

The protester who climbed the building was removed by D.C. firefighters and arrested by D.C. police. The group dispersed shortly after.

In a statement, Washington Gas said it’s begun to reduce emissions in its operations.

“We have been taking concrete actions towards the energy evolution. Our fuel neutral approach provides for multiple pathways and positions our infrastructure to deliver affordable, ‘low to no’ carbon fuels of the future.  You can find out more about our approach by reviewing our Climate Business Plan which we have filed with the DC Public Service Commission.  This plan will help Washington, D.C. meet its climate goals in a manner that is affordable, reliable, safe and secure,” the company said.

Climate activists have more demonstrations are planned throughout the day.

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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