WASHINGTON – Nine protesters were arrested Thursday after storming the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to demand that she meet with them about climate change.
The arrested activists, according to the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, belong to a global network of protesters holding demonstrations to call attention to a crisis that could lead to food shortages, more wildfires and a loss of land from rising seas.
The standoff between the group and Pelosi – the nation’s highest-ranking Democrat – shows the divide between young liberals and politicians who they say are not moving fast enough to curb carbon emissions.
After staging a four-day hunger strike outside Pelosi’s second-floor office in the Longworth House building, the Extinction Rebellion protesters rushed past two aides guarding the entrance about 3 p.m. to punctuate their demand that the speaker sit for an hour-long, videotaped meeting.
At least two of the protest organizers, 30-year-old Nick Brana and 20-year-old Giovanni Tamacas, were arrested in Pelosi’s office and led out in handcuffs. Others arrested included Huayra Huancayo, 29, of Alexandria, Virginia, and Stephen Leas, 28, of Fairmont, Maryland.
A member of the organization said they decided to escalate the confrontation after learning that Pelosi planned to fly to San Francisco as soon as Congress adjourned for the Thanksgiving holiday.
While Pelosi has been a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change for years, and established a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis after Democrats took control of the chamber, many activists have criticized her for not doing more on the issue. She has questioned the political viability of enacting the Green New Deal into law, remarking earlier this…