Thousands of protesters flooded New York City for a second day on Monday, with many risking arrest in a mass sit-in on Wall Street.
“Throughout history, people have engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience in response to moral crises, when political leaders have failed to act,” stated Vida James, an organizer with the Flood Wall Street (FWS) group.
According to organizers, over 3000 people have turned out on Wall Street to protest against “institutions that are profiting from the climate crisis.”
Hundreds are participating in efforts to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange with a sit-in, aimed at blockading the financial center.
The protest doesn't have a police permit. Protesters who opted not to risk arrest joined in a march in the morning, and rallied in solidarity with the sit-in demonstrators. One person had been arrested at the time of writing, and there were reports of police using pepper spray and beating some protesters.
The New York Times has reported the clashes began when protesters began trying to dismantle barriers set up by police on Wall Street.
Police also punctured two giant balloons that had been bouncing around the crowd during the morning's march. Organizers say the balloons represented atmospheric carbon dioxide. The action was organized collaboratively between OccupyWallStreet organizers and part of the Climate Justice Alliance Call to Action.
“Many of us were also involved with Occupy Wall Street,” FWS organizer Michael Premo stated.
“Just like the financial crisis, the climate crisis is a product of an underlying political crisis. It’s the result of policies that serve the shortsighted interests of the few over the survival and well being of everyone,” Premo said.
Organizers have emphasized the event is intended as a “collective act of nonviolent civil disobedience – to confront the system that both causes and profits from the crisis that is threatening humanity.”
According to Michael Leon Guerrero of the Climate Justice Alliance, “We are flooding Wall Street to stop its financing of planetary destruction, and to make way for living economies that benefit people and the planet.”
Protests are set to continue for the rest of the week, while the United Nations holds climate talks in New York.
The talks are aimed at securing an international agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.N. meeting will begin on Tuesday.