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102 Arrested at Flood Wall Street

Climate

Shortly after the New York Stock Exchange 4 p.m. closing bell and hours after the protest began, New York City police arrested 102 people who were part of the Flood Wall Street protest yesterday, including several individuals in wheelchairs and one dressed as a polar bear.

Peter Galvin, co-founder of Center for Biological Diversity, dressed in a polar bear suit is arrested by police at Flood Wall Street. Photo credit: Shawn Cain

A day after the historic People's Climate March in New York City, which attracted around 400,000 people, thousands of environmental activists dressed in blue flooded into the lower Manhattan Financial District. It started with speakers like Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges and Rebecca Solnit as demonstrators assembled in Battery Park for the march and nonviolent sit-in which began around Noon. The demonstration and sit-in were peaceful and festive, although they clogged the streets, blocking normal traffic flow through the district and police presence was heavy throughout the day.

Photo credit: #FloodWallStreet

The demonstration was intended to call attention to how financial companies are fueling climate change and profiting from negatively impacting communities.

“Throughout history, people have engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience in response to moral crises, when political leaders have failed to act,” said Vida James, a Flood Wall Street organizer. “What could constitute more of a moral crisis than the health and survival of our planet, our communities and our grandchildren?”

“World leaders have failed all of us on the climate crisis, and frustration has hit a tipping point—not just for the environmental movement but for people around the globe,” said Center for Biological Diversity executive director and co-founder Kieran Suckling, who was among those arrested along with co-founder Peter Galvin.

“There have never been so many people from so many parts of the world speaking in a united voice for climate action. What happened this week will only build on itself until world leaders finally act. Global warming is putting people, wildlife and indeed the entire planet on the path toward disaster. President Obama and other world leaders have an indisputable moral obligation to take action, but nothing they’ve done so far comes close to matching the magnitude of the crisis we face."

Democracy Now! went down to Wall Street and talked to some of the protestors about why they were there, including one of the members of the Great March for the Climate, which is now crossing the country from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. They also captured footage of a young man being arrested. Watch the video.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.