An activist group kicked off a weeklong climate-change “Rebel Fest” by drenching the iconic Wall Street Bull sculpture in fake blood on Monday morning.
“I hope that people will both connect to us and see the severity of the situation,” said Yana Landowne, a civil rights activist who participated in the action.
Extinction Rebellion, the organizing group, began its action with a funeral procession for the climate, culminating in a “die-in” at the bull sculpture in the Financial District. A police spokesman said about 90 people were arrested on charges of civil disobedience.
Dozens of participants dressed in black carried coffins, fish skeletons made of recycled plastic and picket signs with the silhouettes of endangered animal species. Four activists clad entirely in red with white-painted faces marched the procession to the site of the sculpture.
The funeral procession was one of many recent climate-focused actions in the city, where the U.N. Action Summit last month focused on climate change.
Still, many climate activists are worried that people aren’t grasping the urgency of the issue. Extinction Rebellion is a group that regularly uses art and performance to draw attention to scientific consensus on threats to biodiversity and ecosystems.
“Theater and art can be more powerful and emotional than other tactics…there is also a healing quality of putting your energy into something creative” said Emilia Morgan, an action coordinator with Extinction Rebellion’s Massachusetts chapter.
At the Charging Bull statue, about a dozen activists staged the “die-in,” lying at the feet of the bull that they had covered in fake blood. An activist stood on top of the statue, waving a neon green Extinction Rebellion flag. Tourists stopped to take pictures as police began to block off a perimeter around the protesters.
As a smaller group of activists clogged Broadway, some drivers honked and yelled at police to move the protesters.
But Luke Alexander Jones, a veteran who was watching the procession in Battery Park, said he thought that the action was very effective in drawing awareness to the environmental crisis.
“People can be very nonchalant about the issue, but my eyes are open,” he said.
Extinction Rebellion will be holding teach-ins, workshops and rallies throughout the week.