Environmentalist protesters attempting to occupy the Department of the Interior were arrested after storming the building. FILE – In this April 4, 2013 file photo, a mechanized shovel loads a haul truck that can carry up to 250 tons of coal at the Spring Creek coal mine near Decker, Mont. U.S. officials have launched a review of climate damage from coal mining on public lands as the Biden administration expands scrutiny of government fossil fuel sales that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Interior Department officials said Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 that their review also will look at whether companies are paying fair value for coal extracted from public reserves in Wyoming, Montana and other states. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File) Matthew Brown/AP

Protesters arrested after storming Interior Department

Virginia Aabram October 15, 11:27 PM October 15, 11:27 PM

Environmentalist protesters attempting to occupy the Department of the Interior were arrested after storming the building.

Police arrested dozens of protesters Thursday from People vs. Fossil Fuels trying to storm the Stewart Lee Udall Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C., as part of a weeklong demonstration against the Biden administration for not ending contracts for oil pipelines, among other demands.

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Videos show a crowd of protesters on the steps of the building, with some trying to climb through the doors. The organization said “55 Indigenous people were arrested; police tased and hit multiple people with batons.” One officer went to the hospital for injuries.

Federal Protective Service personnel responded to the area to “mitigate the situation,” the agency said in a statement.

“Multiple injuries were sustained by security personnel, and one officer has been transported to a nearby hospital,” said Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz. “Medics representing both the Department and the protesters were present.”

“Federal Protective Service personnel responded to the area to mitigate the situation,” Schwartz continued. “Centering the voices of lawful protesters is and will continue to be an important foundation of our democracy. It is also our obligation to keep everyone safe. We will continue to do everything we can to de-escalate while honoring first amendment rights.”

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The Federal Protective Service said other law enforcement agencies assisted it in efforts “to detain, prosecute or take action against anyone who caused harm and attempted to disrupt the business of the federal government yesterday,” according to a statement reported by The Hill.

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The protesters released a statement celebrating the protest as the “first occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs by Indigenous peoples since the 1970s.”

“We will no longer allow the U.S. government to separate us from our relationship to the sacred knowledge of Mother Earth and all who depend on her […] We will not back down until our natural balance is restored,” they wrote.

Journalist Andy Ngo, who covers Antifa, called the scene “reminiscent of Jan. 6.”

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