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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Climate activists interrupt senator’s book talk, occupy stage

Members+of+Climate+Defiance%2C+a+nonprofit+activism+organization%2C+sit+before+Sen.+Amy+Klobuchar+%28D-MN%29+and+CNN+host+Dana+Bash+on+the+stage+of+Betts+Theatre.
Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor
Members of Climate Defiance, a nonprofit activism organization, sit before Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and CNN host Dana Bash on the stage of Betts Theatre.

Anti-fossil fuel protesters called for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to become a “climate leader” in an onstage sit-in during her book talk at Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre in the University Student Center Thursday.

At least 10 members of Climate Defiance, a nonprofit that uses “disruptive direct action” to bring awareness to climate issues, occupied the stage for about seven minutes during a discussion for Klobuchar’s new memoir, chanting “Live your values, be a climate leader,” and linking arms while holding a banner that read “Amy: which side are you on?” Individuals interrupted the discussion twice and asked Klobuchar to commit to cosponsoring the Green New Deal before other protesters interspersed throughout the audience marched onstage.

Some members of the audience yelled at the occupants to leave during their protest. At least five GW Police Department officers responded to the protest onstage and escorted the group out of the theater after seven minutes of protest. 

University spokesperson Julia Metjian did not immediately return a request for comment regarding why officers escorted protesters out of the building.

The first attendee interrupted Klobuchar’s discussion on her book “The Joy of Politics,” which CNN host Dana Bash moderated, by asking if she would pledge to stop oil drilling in Minnesota. Klobuchar said “we don’t have drilling” in the state and that she was “proud” U.S. Congress passed the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which set goals to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy.

“I’m a strong believer in even exceeding those goals, and there are many things we have to do to get there,” Klobuchar said. “I appreciate your advocacy.”

There is no drilling or other “oil or gas activity” in Minnesota due to “limited” crude oil and natural gas reserves in the state, according to Ballotpedia.

Another attendee stood up from their seat about four minutes after the first interruption and asked Klobuchar if she would co-sponsor the Green New Deal. Klobuchar responded to the question, saying she has a “very good” record on voting for climate change measures but did not state she would cosponsor the legislation. Immediately after her response, protesters took to the stage.

Klobuchar introduced a bill in March with Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) to make E15 gas available year-round, which could cause increased levels of ozone smog and pose a health risk. Klobuchar also introduced a bill incentivizing production of energy-efficient, affordable heat pumps for water heaters in May 2022.

Protesters stood up from their seats in the audience and marched on stage while chanting. Once on stage, demonstrators unfurled two banners while linking arms and sitting down directly in front of Klobuchar and Bash. Two GWPD officers immediately walked on stage and stood next to the demonstrators, who began to sing “Amy, which side are you on?” amid boos from members of the audience.

[gwh_image id=”1189619″ credit=”Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor” align=”none” size=”embedded-img”][/gwh_image]

Shortly after protesters began to sing onstage, Klobuchar and Bash stood up from their seats and went backstage. Three more GWPD officers walked onstage and a man affiliated with the event asked protesters to leave, after which officers escorted the demonstrators off the stage and out of the building.

Klobuchar and Bash returned to the stage after the anti-fossil fuel demonstrators exited the building, receiving applause from the audience.

“It’s something we really do have to do more on,” Klobuchar said after sitting down. “They are right.”

After returning to the stage, two other attendees interrupted Klobuchar from the audience three more times. One man approached the stage and questioned Klobuchar about her legislative actions to increase gun safety about seven minutes after the discussion resumed.

Klobuchar said she would ban the purchase of assault weapons, enhance background checks and impose magazine limits. She said she feels “strongly” about improved gun control and met with a mother of a survivor of the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that killed three children and three school officials in March. 

GWPD officers then escorted the protester out of the building. 

About eight minutes after the protester was escorted out, another man stood up from his seat and criticized Klobuchar for her December 2016 trip to Ukraine before GWPD officers escorted him out of the theater.

Klobuchar said her 2016 trip to Ukraine with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was to show that America was “standing with” the country against Russian aggression as a “fellow democracy.”

The two protesters later returned and approached the stage. GWPD officers escorted them out again. EMeRG responders later wheeled one protester off the premises on a stretcher and Metropolitan Police Department officers transported the other protester to the second district station, according to an MPD spokesperson.

Erika Filter and Nick Pasion contributed reporting.

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About the Contributor
Cade McAllister, Events Editor
Cade McAllister is a sophomore double majoring in international affairs and political science from San Diego, California.  He is The Hatchet's 2023-2024 events editor.
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