In photos: 16 activists arrested at Extinction Rebellion WNC climate protest

Extinction Rebellion protester being arrested by Asheville Police Department
WORDS ON THE STREET: Officers with the Asheville Police Department arrest one of 16 Extinction Rebellion WNC protesters during the group's "Valentine for the Earth" action. Photo by Daniel Walton

Arrests for climate activism in Asheville are now on the books. As part of a Feb. 14 “Valentine for the Earth” action organized by Extinction Rebellion WNC, the local chapter of the global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, the Asheville Police Department arrested 16 protesters for obstructing traffic in front of the Veach-Baley Federal Complex on Patton Avenue.

Prior to the arrests, over 100 demonstrators marched down the sidewalk from Pritchard Park, bearing banners and chanting slogans that urged all levels of government to make a more robust response to climate change. Cries of “People over power,” “Who decides? We decide!” and “Tell the truth!” were met with honks from passing motorists.

As those blocking the roadway were escorted into a waiting paddy wagon and squad car, protesters who remained on the street hailed them as “climate heroes” and continued to chant. The group also praised the scientists working for the National Centers for Environmental Information, which is based in the Asheville federal building, with many carrying red heart-shaped signs to show their support.

“The purpose of the blockade is not to inconvenience motorists but to mark a new beginning in North Carolina of escalated action on behalf of our children and communities now threatened by climate change,” Extinction Rebellion WNC wrote in a statement issued before the protest. “Having witnessed with disbelief more than a decade of delay and denial, growing numbers of people now recognize that a global nonviolent movement is our last and only chance to avoid climate catastrophe.”

Updated at 10:52 a.m. on Feb. 17 to reflect the final number of arrests reported by APD.



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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the former news editor of Mountain Xpress. His work has also appeared in Sierra, The Guardian, and Civil Eats, among other national and regional publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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7 thoughts on “In photos: 16 activists arrested at Extinction Rebellion WNC climate protest

  1. Local +20yrs

    I would of been there but I have a job that employs multiple people with above average wages on a daily basis.

  2. Lulz

    LOL any group that uses the term justice to further their agenda is a straight up communist cult of thugs.

  3. Mark McDonough

    Mr. Walton,

    I was very surprised to read the words “paddy wagon” in your post. Granted, I live in Boston and am of Irish descent, but I thought that term was considered to be disrespectful, if not offensive, by society in general.

    • Hello Mark, thanks much for reading and for your comment. I checked the term “paddy wagon” with both the AP Stylebook and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary before publication for guidance — the AP doesn’t mention the term, while Merriam-Webster does not flag it as offensive and includes links to recent uses in the Los Angeles Times and Harper’s Magazine.

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