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Extinction Rebellion Stages 'Die-In' at Iconic Wall Street Bull Statue

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Extinction Rebellion protestors in New York City on Oct. 7. Felton Davis / CC BY 2.0

Protestors in New York City expressed their dismay with the government's and big businesses' slow response to the climate crisis by pouring fake blood on themselves and the iconic charging bull statue near Wall Street on Monday. Nearly 100 people were arrested in New York as part of Extinction Rebellion's worldwide two weeks of climate protests, according to the New York New York Daily News.


Around the statue, protestors laid on the ground, pretending to be dead from the climate crisis. "Drowned in attic," read one cardboard gravestone next to a protester playing dead; another read, "Couldn't Outrun Wildfire," as The New York Times reported.

"With our striking visuals, you know, like funeral and death and devastation and blood and gore, we are instilling that instinctive sense of fear," one protester said to CBS New York. "We want that sense of fear to be associated with the climate crisis to show that this is urgent."

Protests in 60 cities around the world started at 10 a.m. local time, per the Extinction Rebellion's website. That is when the protest started in lower Manhattan. At 10:30, three people poured fake blood on the charging bull statue, as one protestor stood atop the 11-foot tall statue and waved a neon green Extinction Rebellion flag, as was posted on Twitter by reporters and onlookers.

One of the people who poured fake blood on the statue was a 24-year-old student from Columbia University who was arrested. The other two fled and were not caught, according to the New York Daily News.

The British-based activist group was founded last year, but has found a groundswell of support in London, across Europe and in Australia, where protestors have brought traffic to a halt and temporarily shut down business as usual to draw attention to the climate crisis. However, the group has not found similar traction in the U.S. and has failed to garner the street muscle it has flexed in the UK, according to The New York Times.

The Times also reported that the group hopes to build momentum in America by forming a presence around landmarks and disrupting traffic. New York seems the ideal place to gain a foothold. The city council declared a climate emergency, the state set the nation's most ambitious climate target earlier this summer, and the city has a liberal population coupled with a growing youth climate movement. Furthermore, rising sea levels threaten the city.

"There will be broad disruption of business as usual," said a New York-based Extinction Rebellion spokesman to The Guardian. "Frankly we don't have time to wait for an opportune moment. Climate breakdown is under way and we can't afford to wait."

In addition to protesting in front of the charging bull statue, the die-in was staged in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street, a center of the global financial system that the group blames for the continued use of fossil fuels, was an obvious target, according to The New York Times.

The protestors asserted that dramatic means are now necessary. "The democratic means no longer work," said Kyle Pritz, a protestor. "We have called our congresspeople, we have voted, we have marched in the streets. Nothing is working."

In the end, 93 people were arrested as part of the protests, mostly on civil disobedience charges, according to a police spokesman, as Gothamist reported. The arrests included 26 people who were detained near the bull; 8 people arrested by the Stock Exchange; and 59 who were arrested by Broadway and Pine Street.

Demonstrations around the world have taken place in the UK, Germany, Spain, Austria, France, New Zealand and several other nations. Protesters in London shut down Lambeth Bridge, Whitehall, the Mall and major central London roads, according to CNBC. More than 135 people were arrested there, while more than 100 were arrested in Amsterdam where protestors blocked the streets, as USA Today reported.

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