NEW YORK — About 1,000 green activists halted traffic in New York’s Financial District for hours Monday with a pointed message for the masters of Washington and Wall Street: Unrestrained capitalism is a major cause of climate change.
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In a mostly peaceful daylong protest that bore some similarities to the Occupy Wall Street rallies of yesteryear, protesters wearing blue to symbolize the rising seas banged drums, chanted, sat in the streets and occasionally clashed with police while advancing the message that addressing the warming globe requires fundamental changes in society.
Others held signs with slogans like “Capitalism = climate chaos,” “Consumerism is killing everything” and “Carbon tax the ecocidal maniacs.” One website promoting the protest urged people to “shut down the institutions that are profiting from the climate crisis.”
The protest came one day after an estimated 400,000 climate activists paraded with celebrities and VIPs through midtown Manhattan, determined to show the world that Americans want action on climate change, and one day before President Barack Obama and other leaders are due to take up the call at a United Nations climate summit.
But Monday’s message did not quite mesh with Obama’s “all of the above” energy platform — including his embrace of natural gas and praise for the domestic oil boom. Also absent were Al Gore, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other A-listers from Sunday.
The White House did not comment specifically on Monday’s Wall Street protest, but spokesman Josh Earnest called Sunday’s march and other demonstrations over the weekend a sign that the climate issue is resonating. Organizers of Sunday’s march said more than 2,000 related events took place in 162 countries.
“Well, I do think that the — that the demonstrations in New York over the weekend were an indication that there is a lot of support at the grass-roots level all across this country for important steps that can reduce the importance — that can reduce the causes