A group of young activists with Extinction Rebellion occupied the office of the top Democrat in Congress, Nancy Pelosi on Monday to mark the beginning of a hunger strike.
A dozen strikers with the global grassroots movement Extinction Rebellion are taking part in a climate hunger strike that nearly 300 people have pledged to join. They are “targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with a hunger strike and demanding that the Democratic leader embrace bold climate action like other progressive lawmakers around the country.”
Organizers handed out vitamins and nutritional supplements to the campaigners.
The group threatened Pelosi a week ago, and declared that members would begin a “hunger strike Monday unless the California Democrat agreed to a one-hour, on-camera meeting to discuss Extinction Rebellion’s demands for concrete climate action.” Pelosi must have ignored these demands, which lead to the group announcing on Twitter Pelosi’s “time was up and that at least 20 young activists would occupy the speaker’s Washington office, until she agrees to meet them.” Extinction Rebellion live-streamed the demonstration on social media.
Giovanni Tamacas, one of the hunger strike organizers, theatrically read from a letter sent to Pelosi. “We won’t be patronized by a meeting with your staff, or a meeting in the distant future, or a five minute conversation, or an impromptu talk,”
He demanded, “Meet with us or leave us to starve while you jet to your Thanksgiving feasts and cocktail parties in the glow of a burning world. It is with a heavy heart that we will deny ourselves our basic needs. May our pain finally sound the alarm.”
Pelosi is accused of “turning a blind eye” to the rapidly warming climate, wildfires raging throughout her home state, melting glaciers, and millions of climate refugees even as she says in speeches that “there is no time left to deny the reality of climate change.”
The Guardian wrote about Twenty-year-old Giovanni Tamacas hunger strike in August, he joined Extinction Rebellion because he felt other climate activism groups were not disruptive enough. He joined the organization after some of its protestors stripped off their clothes to draw attention to the “crisis” in the British Parliament.
Pelosi stands accused by Nick Brana, a spokesman for XR in Washington, of holding back a resolution to declare a climate emergency and a Green New Deal and “neutering” a special House climate committee that does not have the power to subpoena fossil fuel companies or the ability to write legislation.
Four students are also taking part in a hunger strike at Columbia University, New York. They demand to know why the university has not joined other colleges, cities and financial institutions in divesting from fossil fuels.
“Every day the evidence piles up at your desk, but you have yet to pass even symbolic legislation recognizing the climate crisis as a national emergency,” Extinction Rebellion wrote. “With all due respect, you have failed.”