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Following Climate Protests, Torrential Rain Strands Thousands at Burning Man Festival

HeadlineSep 05, 2023

In Nevada, tens of thousands of participants at the annual Burning Man festival were left stranded over the weekend, after torrential rainfall covered normally dry campgrounds in mud and made roads impassable for days. Attendees had been told to shelter in place since Friday. The extreme weather capped a Burning Man festival that proceeded despite the objections of climate activists, who on August 27 peacefully blockaded a two-lane highway leading to the campgrounds to demand Burning Man ban private jets, single-use plastic and unlimited use of generators and propane tanks. That protest was broken up by a Nevada tribal police officer who rammed into their blockade, injuring a protester, before drawing a pistol, tackling a demonstrator and threatening to shoot activists.

Protester: “We’re nonviolent!”

Police officer: “Get down now! Get down! On the ground! All of you, on the ground now! Get on the ground!”

Protester: “We’re nonviolent!”

Police officer: “Get on the ground!”

Protester: “We’re nonviolent!”

Police officer: “Don’t move!”

In a statement, the Seven Circles Alliance activist group which organized the protest responded, “The excessive response is a snapshot of the institutional violence and police brutality that is being shown to anyone who is actively working to bring about systemic change within the United States, including the climate movement.” Burning Man organizers estimate the festival’s carbon footprint at about 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year — equivalent to the annual emissions of 22,000 gas-powered cars.

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