Activists protesting the Trump administration’s rollback of U.S. environmental and climate policies are facing felony charges after unfurling a banner from Trump Tower in Chicago.
Six people, including four Greenpeace USA activists, were charged on Sunday after “causing a disturbance” during a July 7 action, according to Chicago Police Department. The 50-by-35-foot sheet they unfurled from the tower’s 16th floor caused “extensive damage to the building,” police said in an emailed statement.
The banner, emblazoned with the words “Resist” and “Defend,” was meant as a show of defiance to the President Trump’s anti-climate agenda, Greenpeace said.
Trump on June 1 announced he would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty to fight global warming supported by almost the entire world. He’s also started unraveling U.S. policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and vehicles.
His administration, meanwhile, has reversed several Obama-era rules to limit air and water pollution from fossil fuel production, in a bid to boost coal, oil, and gas development despite the environmental consequences.
“These are things that are going to damage the health and well-being of American communities and communities across the world,” Jason Schwartz, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said by phone.
“These activists [in Chicago] were trying to bring light to that,” he said.
Four Greenpeace activists were all charged with one felony count each of criminal damage to property and a misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. They are: Jeremy Alpert of Glencoe, Illinois; Taylor Blevons of Deerfield, Illinois; Wendy Jennings of Minneapolis; and David Khoury of Leslie, Arkansas.
Two other women were charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct but weren’t connected to Greenpeace.
On Sunday afternoon, Schwartz said Greenpeace was in the process of posting bonds for the four activists, who have been held in jail since Friday. He said he was confident officials would drop the felony charges.