After a sit in by climate activists, police officers led a protester from the Department of Interior to be taken out of their building.
Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Republicans and right-wing media outlets are comparing — even equating — last week’s largely peaceful climate protests in Washington, D.C. to the violent Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol, further advancing duel attempts to both soft-pedal the insurrection while painting environmental activists as extremists.

Last week’s Native American and Environmental Justice advocates were active for five consecutive days. took to the streetsWashington should demand from the Biden Administration that it act quickly to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gases and to block any new fossil fuel projects. Line 3 oil pipelineMinnesota. The coalition of groups known as Build Back Fossil Free, a nod to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan.

Clashes were part of the five-day demonstration. More than 600 peopleAccording to organizers they were mostly charged with obstruction and crowding. The Washington Post reports that at least three protestors were arrested for assaulting a police officer. reportedAlthough details about the alleged assaults are not known, And “multiple injuries were sustained by security personnel” when protesters staged a sit-in at the Interior Department’s headquarters on Oct. 14, agency spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in a statement. According to reports, one officer was taken to the hospital.

But to equate last week’s desperate calls for federal action to stave off potentially catastrophic planetary warming to the pro-Trump mob that descended on U.S. Capitol in an effort to thwart the 2020 presidential election and undermine American democracy is “a ridiculous and false comparison,” said Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity, energy justice director

“It was incredibly peaceful, per usual of climate protests,” Su said.

Protesters rally outside the Department of Interior as climate activists hold a sit-in inside the agency's headquarters on Oct. 14.
As climate activists stage a sit-in at the Department of Interior’s headquarters, protesters gather outside Department of Interior on October 14.
Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

At least 3 officers were kidnapped by the Jan. 6 mob, and more than 100 others were injured. Several officers still haven’t returned to work because of the injuries they suffered. On Jan. 6, hundreds of ex-Trump supporters brutally attacked officers, including Danny Rodriguez who was wearing a MAGA hat and electroshocked Officer Mike Fanone after he was taken by the mob. Jan. 6 rioters tried to gouge out the eyes of police officers guarding the Capitol, and attacked them with every weapon at their disposal: fire extinguishers, mace, wasp spray, flag poles, fences, hockey sticks, metal poles, batons and an enormous “TRUMP” sign that the mob pushed into a police line.

The FBI has made around 650 arrests in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, but that’s just a fraction of the total criminal activity that day. The number of potential future defendants who committed conduct that prosecutors will charge if they’re identified is about 2,500. As of today, more than 250 people who assaulted police officers on Jan. 6 haven’t been arrested yet, and their photos are featured on the FBI website, along with roughly 100 others wanted for other serious crimes including assaulting media.

Su was present at last week’s climate demonstrations outside the White House, but was not at the Interior building. Organisers challenged officials’ accounts of what occurred, alleging that “police acted aggressively with the water protectors and indigenous leaders, tasing at least two people and hitting others with batons.”

Ryan Zinke, the former Interior secretary under Trump, was among the first to condemn last week’s protest at Interior’s headquarters. In a statement posted to Twitter, he called the incident “shocking” and “frankly sickening,” and asserted that such “blatant lawlessness” would never have occurred on his watch.

“Where is the liberal outrage now against lawlessness and destruction of government property?” he asked. “Deafeningly silent of course.”

Zinke was the only one to remain silent on Jan. 6’s riot. The former Trump official and current candidate for Montana’s newly designated congressional district put out no public statements in the wake of the Capitol attack, according to HuffPost’s review of news articles and social media. Zinke replied that he was shocked by the attack when NBC Montana asked in April. an issue for a later date

A former Navy SEAL took the opportunity to use Twitter to communicate with his followers in July toutTrump was most likely to have incited the mob violence months before Trump’s endorsement.

Others Republicans and right-wing media outlets are following suit. You can read the entire article here comments to E&E News, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced what he called a “mob of extremists” and claimed that “just a few hours after the violence and the break-in occurred, instead of condemning the radicals, the Biden administration praised them — praised them.”

As E&E reported, that isn’t what happened. McConnell misrepresented remarks Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, made at an Oct. 14 briefing. A reporter asked Psaki not about the protesters’ actions at Interior, but rather their demands throughout the week for more aggressive climate action.

“Of course we’re listening to advocates and people who have been elevating the issue of climate for decades,” Psaki said. “They have important voices, and they put climate on the front of the agenda when it wasn’t 10 years and 20 years ago.”

Demonstrators prepare to be arrested during a rally outside the White House as part of the "Climate Chaos Is Happening Now" protest on Oct. 13.
Demonstrators gather to protest outside of the White House in the context of “Climate Chaos Is Happening Now.” on Oct. 13.
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

This narrative about some sort of “insurrection” taking place has only continued to grow.

“There Was An Insurrection Last Week And No One Noticed,” read a Tuesday headline on right-wing website PJ Media. (An editor’s note at the bottom of that article asks readers for help to “fight back against the lying liberal media who will do anything to preserve their leftist narrative.”)

In their own extensive coverage of the event, Fox News reporters and TV hosts labeled the protesters “zealots,” “insurrectionists,” a “climate militia” and “villain of the day,” according to clipsMedia Matters is a media watchdog. One Fox News headline declared the scene outside the Interior Department as “reminiscent of Jan. 6,” using a partial quote from far-right media activist and troll Andy Ngo.

Rep. Gregory Steube, R-Fla. spent all of his time at a Thursday hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Just last week, on Oct. 14, a group of extremist, environmental and ‘Indigenous’ protestors forced their way into the Department of Interior,” Steube said, using air quotes when he said the word Indigenous. “They fought with and injured security and police officers, sending some of those officers to the hospital. The extremists violently pushed their way into a restricted government building in an attempt to thwart the work of the Department of the Interior.”

Steube later held up two photographs — one from Jan. 6 and the other from the Oct. 14 protest at Interior — and asked Garland if he’d call both incidents domestic terrorism. Garland said it was the first he’d heard about the incident, but that the Justice Department “doesn’t care whether the violence comes from the left or from the right.”

“I’m not going to be able to resolve a legal determination based on one picture,” Garland added. “In the Jan. 6 case, we have terabytes of video which disclose exactly what happened.”

HuffPost did not receive any information from the Federal Protective Service on Friday regarding injuries sustained by officers and the charges against them.

Steube later declared on Twitter that Garland’s response “demonstrates their clear politicization of the DOJ.”

The Florida congressman did condemnThe Jan. 6 attack. But he was also among dozens of Republicans who promoted Trump’s “big lie” of a rigged presidential election that ultimately fueled the Capitol insurrection. He was arrested days later. joinedThere were 146 Republicans who voted in order to change the results of the 2020 elections.

In June, he will announce his retirement. voted againstHonoring Capitol Police who were on the Capitol’s Jan. 6th floor.

Ryan Reilly was a contributor to this report.


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