A group of climate activists who walked onto a busy highway in Washington, D.C., bringing rush-hour traffic to a halt, prevented a man from being with his wife as she gave birth.
The activists said they were blocking traffic on I-395 Wednesday morning in an effort to convince President Joe Biden to declare a “climate emergency,” according to video taken by journalist Ford Fischer. The group has successfully blocked the highway on two other occasions over the past two weeks, Fischer tweeted.
“We are asking President Biden to declare a climate emergency and to stop all extraction on federal and indigenous land,” Jon, one of the protesters, told Fischer.
“We have a brief and rapidly closing window to address the climate crisis,” he added. “The government isn’t listening.”
The activist argued that the Biden administration is acting in contradiction to its climate rhetoric by recently encouraging new oil drilling. The White House, though, has repeated a debunked argument that energy producers can drill for fossil fuels on 9,000 unused leases, rather than hold new lease sales.
Fischer’s video showed the moment when the activists walked onto the highway as cars sped by. The group met angry drivers and the honking of horns as drivers realized what was happening.
One driver got out of his car and said that while he agreed with their message, they were preventing him from getting to his wife who was in labor.
“I gotta get to my wife, she’s pregnant. What the f**k?” the man yelled at the protesters. “I need to get to her to have my child.”
The man told the activists to leave the highway and go speak with lawmakers directly. One of the activists argued with the man that they were blocking traffic on behalf of the man’s unborn child.
“That’s why we are doing this because we care about everybody,” the unnamed protester said. “It’s really a bad situation. We only have a few years.”
Police officers with the Metropolitan Police Department eventually removed the group from the busy highway, though three officers were forced to carry one woman off the road.
“This is how women got the vote, this is how civil rights was passed,” one of the protesters told Fischer as the activists were being arrested and put into police cruisers.