Indigenous groups and other environmental activists marched to the Capitol on Friday as they continued a weeklong protest demanding that Congress and the Biden administration stop new fossil fuel projects and act with greater urgency on climate change. Nearly 80 people were arrested on the fifth day of the "People vs. Fossil Fuels" protest, the AP reports. That brings the total arrested this week to more than 600, organizers said. Demonstrators urged members of Congress to "listen to the people" who sent them to Washington and take urgent action to phase out fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.
Under a banner declaring, "We did not vote for fossil fuels," activists pressed President Biden to stop approving new pipelines and other fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. Speakers said Biden isn't following through on his promises to act on climate change. "It's ridiculous. He promised, just like they've done in the past, 'We'll talk about it, we'll bring it to the table.' Where's our seat?'' asked Isabelle Knife, 22, who traveled to Washington from the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was "listening to advocates and people who have been elevating the issue of climate for decades."
Psaki encouraged anyone who supports action on climate change to look at Biden's proposals in a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger, Democratic-only plan to address social and environmental issues. The protest started on Monday, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, outside the White House, said Jennifer Falcon, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, a member of the coalition that organized the event. The Andrew Jackson statue at the center of Lafayette Park across the street from the White House was defaced with the words “Expect Us”—part of a rallying cry used by Indigenous people who have been fighting against fossil fuel pipelines.
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