Arrests ‘Part of the Deal’: Climate Activists Who Struck Degas Exhibit to Return to DC

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An extremist climate group that defaced an exhibit on French impressionist Edgar Degas last spring at the National Gallery of Art plans to lead another series of protests in the metropolitan Washington area beginning Friday. And more illegal actions are in the works, the group says. 

The organization, called Declare Emergency, threatened to continue such acts until President Joe Biden does what it demands.

Two members of the organization smeared red and black paint April 27 on a protective box surrounding Degas’ statuette “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” sparking an FBI investigation into the climate activist organization.

Now, Declare Emergency says it plans to risk members’ arrests during a week of demonstrations in the D.C. area, including roadblocks and other actions that supposedly symbolize the state of the climate. 

In a Nov. 3 media advisory, Declare Emergency said it invited “regular people” who support its campaign to a series of demonstrations in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia from Friday, Nov. 10, through Saturday, Nov. 18. 

Most planned actions will occur on the two weekends, Declare Emergency’s media contact Tim Martin told The Daily Signal, and the group expects arrests. 

“Our resistance will continue for the foreseeable future until Biden holds a press conference in front of the entire nation declaring a climate emergency and stating clearly that we only have two to three years to end all fossil fuel production to stay below 2.0 degrees of warming,” the group’s media advisory reads. 

It adds: “Mass starvation, mass migration, social collapse, economic ruin, terrorism, wars, rape and slaughter await us if we do not act swiftly, decisively and meaningfully.”

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Asked whether the upcoming week would spur arrests, Martin replied, “I hope so.”

“That’s the strategy,” Martin told The Daily Signal. “We sacrifice by risking arrest to let the public know how serious the situation is. And we all have things we’d rather be doing, but once you learn how bad things are from the climate scientists, you realize that everybody’s ignoring them.”

In fact, the climate change crisis is a manufactured consensus, climate scientist Judith Curry and other critics of “climate alarmism” argue. Some scientists have an incentive to exaggerate risk to pursue “fame and fortune,” Curry says.

In September, police arrested more than 2,000 climate protesters in the Netherlands, which Martin said inspired Declare Emergency’s “week of action” in November. 

“Arrests are kind of part of the deal,” Martin said. “The more the better.” 

“We do plan to have a rough couple of people willing to risk arrest,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s not going to be anywhere near the scale of the Netherlands actions.”

The defacement of the display case holding Degas’ celebrated work last spring in the National Gallery of Art was symbolic, Martin said, because it represented the climate’s attack on nature. 

He said specifics haven’t been decided, but he thinks another such action in the D.C. area before Nov. 18 is a possibility. 

“I think symbolic actions are very effective,” Martin said. “That story went around the world. We’re still dealing with that. So yeah, I would say more symbolic actions are part of strategy.”

Declare Emergency said it aims to mount at least one roadblock during the D.C. “week of action.” 

“We’ve got a few roads that we typically do, but we’re always looking for new places,” Martin said. 

The extremist group blocked the George Washington Memorial Parkway during the morning rush April 26. It also disrupted traffic on 12th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW in the District of Columbia on Aug. 21. 

Declare Emergency spokesman Donald Zepeda told The Daily Signal that the group will put “members’ bodies on the line” and disrupt business to convince Biden to declare a climate emergency so he could use executive actions to address climate change. 

“It’s going to be a mixture of roadblocks and other things trying to get President Biden to declare a climate emergency,” Zepeda said.

Climate activists must be willing to risk arrest, criminal charges, and jail time, he said.

“We can do as much as we can short of that,” Zepeda said, “but if we want to get to where we need to be, we need to have more of that happening.”

So far, Biden’s measures to counter or prevent climate change have been mere “greenwashing,” Martin told The Daily Signal, using a term referring to when an organization dedicates more effort to making itself look environmentally friendly than to reducing its actual environmental impact.

“There’s no collective solution because these are systemic problems, and we’re looking for our leadership to lead us out of this mess,” he said. “But they [the Biden administration] are happy to delay and kick the can down the road.”

Americans, like the Biden administration, don’t understand the gravity of the climate situation, Zepeda said. 

“We need to convey this issue to the American public and let them know how bad it is, and we need to do that as soon as possible so we can actually get to working on the solution as soon as possible,” Zepeda said. 

Martin said the wealthy control society, forcing everyone else to work to survive. Colonialism is how the Western world got its start, he argued, and now everyone must work together to defeat it.  

“We’re all on the same team, unless you have a billion dollars in your pocket,” Martin said. 

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The post Arrests ‘Part of the Deal’: Climate Activists Who Struck Degas Exhibit to Return to DC appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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