Jane Fonda Arrested During Climate Protest Outside U.S. Capitol
The 81-year-old actress Jane Fonda was arrested outside the United States Capitol on Friday as part of a climate change protest, a high-profile act of civil disobedience by the Oscar-winning actress and Vietnam War objector, who said that she planned to reprise her role every Friday for the rest of the year, The New York Times reports.
Ms. Fonda, 81, was among 16 people charged with unlawfully demonstrating on the East Front of the Capitol, a misdemeanor under a Washington law prohibiting protesters from obstructing public building entrances, Capitol Police said.
She had just finished speaking as part of a Fire Drill Fridays protest, the first of a weekly series of planned climate change demonstrations, when she was taken into custody at 11:50 a.m. local time. Ms. Fonda was later released on her own recognizance.
With the Capitol Dome as a backdrop, Ms. Fonda said she wanted to show solidarity with young climate change strikers such as Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in an emissions-free yacht to draw attention to global warming. She said she had became inspired after reading the best-selling book “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal” by Naomi Klein about climate change over the Labor Day weekend.
“We have to ensure that the climate crisis remains front and center,” Ms. Fonda said. “I’ve been feeling that I wasn’t doing enough.”
Ms. Fonda vowed to return to the Capitol, saying that she was moving to Washington for the next four months out of a sense of urgency and moral outrage.
“The same toxic ideology that took this land from people who already lived here, that kidnapped people from Africa, turning them into slaves to work that stolen land, justified it by saying that those kidnapped and displaced people were not human beings, cut down the forests and exhausted the natural world just as it did the people — this foundational ideology is the same one that has brought us the human-driven climate change that we’re facing today,” she said.
The arrest of Ms. Fonda, a two-time Academy Award best actress winner and fitness video siren, recalled her rebellious liberal activism during the 1960s and 1970s, for which she has received both acclaim and criticism over the decades.
She had been active in the Black Panthers and started a vaudeville troupe with the fellow actor Donald Sutherland as an alternative to the U.S.O.-sponsored shows of Bob Hope for entertaining soldiers.
Ms. Fonda’s 1972 visit to North Vietnam, where she had urged American pilots to stop the bombings during the war, earned her the pejorative nickname “Hanoi Jane.”
Ms. Fonda, who used a microphone on Friday to address the demonstrators, said the group was trying to persuade lawmakers to support the Green New Deal, the environmental initiative proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, that calls for a net-zero carbon United States economy by 2050.
The demonstrators also wanted to press Congress to put an end to fossil fuel exploration and to “phase out” fossil fuel infrastructure, said Ms. Fonda, who added that it was feasible to find fossil fuel industry workers comparable paying jobs in the renewable energy sector.
Ms. Fonda faces a fine of up to $250 and up to 90 days in jail if convicted of unlawful demonstration.
Her agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
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