The protesters started at 6:30AM central time, and until now 15 of them have been taken into police custody, while arrests are ongoing.

The protesters claim that they intend to remain in place for 24 hours, preventing the transport of all oil and gas through the channel.

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At 11am local time, the channel was closed to all traffic passing the Fred Hartman bridge, but shifting in the upper channel and traffic below the bridge was open. The US Coast Guard was also on the scene trying to clear the area.

Jonathan Butler, one of the activists taken into custody, stated:

We have to do the work necessary for a better life, for a better planet. That’s why I am here, and that’s what I’m working for. If we are all going to survive climate crisis, we the people must take back power from Trump and the fossil fuel industry — this is the time our movement demands a reckoning

According to Greenpeace, the climate crisis has emerged as a top issue in the 2020 election. Most of the registered voters now say climate change is an “emergency” and 67% believe that the US under the Trump administration is not doing enough to address the problem.

What is more, in recent weeks, multiple Democratic candidates have released plans to phase out fossil fuels, hold industry executives accountable for their role in the climate crisis, and create jobs and opportunity in the renewable energy economy.

The action also establishes the stage for next week’s youth climate strike. On September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in New York City, millions of people across the US and the world will take part in youth-led strikes to demand transformative action to address the climate crisis. Youth leaders are calling on elected officials to say yes to a Green New Deal and no to fossil fuel expansion.