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NYC Commuters Blast Climate Protesters Blocking Highways: ‘Why Can’t I Go to Work?’

Heavy traffic in San Diego, Calif., July 3, 2020 (Bing Guan/Reuters)

New York City commuters confronted climate-change protesters who blocked rush-hour traffic on crucial highways on the east and west sides of Manhattan on Sunday.

Activists from the group Extinction Rebellion blocked traffic on the northbound lanes of FDR Drive, on Manhattan’s east side, as well as the West Side Highway at about 8:45 a.m. Protesters used metal shackles to chain themselves together, and police were forced to use saws to uncouple protesters, according to AMNY. Other groups to join the protest included Sunrise NYC, Fridays for Future NYC, and Jews for Economic and Racial Justice.

“We are interrupting traffic this morning not to annoy you, but to force the public to confront the true dangers of unchecked climate change,” a post on Extinction Rebellion’s Twitter feed read. The group claimed that New York could be underwater by 2100 if the U.S. does not act to halt rising sea levels.

However, commuters were not pleased with protesters blocking traffic.

“You’ve got to bock the highway? You’ve got to block people from going to work?” said one apparent commuter in a video of an altercation with protesters recorded by Freedom News TV. Multiple commuters swore at the activists.

“Do any of these people work?” another person said. “Do you get paid for this?”

One woman got out of her car to tell protesters that they were “ruining” her daughter’s education.

“People got jobs, so if I get fired, it’s because y’all want to do this right here,” the woman said. “My girl’s eight years old with great grades, straight-A student, charter school, and y’all ruining that for her.”

When one protester apparently tried to explain the situation, the woman retorted, “You’re not here for her because y’all blocking everybody’s way. . . . You keep saying you understand and you don’t, because y’all blocking the way. So everybody that got to go to work, and everybody that got to go to school, that’s not fair. Y’all worrying about stuff that’s not even happening now.”

Another commuter appeared to walk down the highway rather than wait for police to remove the protesters.

“I’m trying to get to work. I’m trying to make money. . . . F*** you guys! F*** you!” the commuter shouted. “Why can’t I go to work? Tell me . . . why can’t I go to work?”

Meanwhile, protesters called on President Biden to take action against climate change.

“I am afraid for humanity, for mother earth, and I am particularly afraid for black people,” a protester shouted through a megaphone at one point in the demonstration while commuters swore in the background. “If we do not fix climate change now, one billion Africans will die of mass starvation! I am here because I am fearful that genocide is what is going to happen to black people!”

The protest continued for about two hours, until police freed traffic. Close to three dozen protesters were arrested, the activist groups reported, while police did not confirm the number of arrests.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that a white protester shouted through a megaphone, when the protester is in fact black. We regret the error.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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