Starting about 7:30 a.m. Friday, demonstrators will march from University Yard at George Washington University toward the World Bank, which occupies buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue between 17th and 19th streets in Northwest Washington. Organizers said hundreds of protesters will surround the headquarters, blocking intersections around one of the District’s main thoroughfares.
Shut Down D.C. spokesman Nick Brana said the groups decided to target the World Bank to demand that it “fully divest from fossil fuels immediately.”
Friday’s demonstration, which is part of the national student-led Youth Climate Strike, will then converge with activists’ weekly Fire Drill Friday protest, at which actress Jane Fonda has become a fixture. The groups, joining at Franklin Square about 11 a.m., then will march to an undisclosed “bank investment firm” to symbolize their opposition to financial institutions’ support of the fossil fuel industry.
“Not only do the leaders of the major financial institutions know that they are contributing to the biggest existential crisis of our lifetime, they are preparing for it,” Raegan Davis, an organizer with Code Pink and Shut Down D.C., said in a statement. “We know we can stop climate chaos, and if financial institutions would rather profit than help us, then we will shut them down until they change their minds.”
Fire Drill Friday, a weekly rally on Capitol Hill aimed at what activists say is lawmakers’ lack of action on reducing climate-altering carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, emphasizes a different theme each week connected to climate change.
This week, officials said, speakers will focus on the intersection between climate change and migration.
Fonda, who in October committed to being arrested at the weekly rally every week for four months, stopped risking arrest in November after spending a night in the District’s jail.
In the weeks since, Fonda’s family, friends and famous colleagues have attended the rallies. Dozens have been arrested in solidarity, including Ted Danson, Diane Lane and Sam Waterston. Fonda moved to the District for the duration of the protests, which are slated to continue until early January.
Friday’s demonstration is expected to include speeches from Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworker Alliance, actress Taylor Schilling and religious leaders.
Blocking traffic during rush hour has become an increasingly common tactic among D.C. activists, who over the past several months have blocked streets during the morning or afternoon commutes on nearly a half-dozen occasions.
Activists with the group Extinction Rebellion D.C., an offshoot of a protest movement that originated in Europe, recently held a hunger strike in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The small group, which hoped to leverage the strike to get a meeting with Pelosi on climate change, said some members went as long as 13 days without eating. But Pelosi, who has been consumed with an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, did not meet with the group, organizers said.
“We never heard a word from Pelosi,” Brana said. “To us, it speaks to how profoundly out of touch both parties are when it comes to the level of crisis we’re seeing. Every day now, there’s an escalation, and we’re getting dangerously close to crossing thresholds at which point you get runaway climate change.”