Police arrested dozens of demonstrators Thursday from People vs. Fossil Fuels attempting to storm the Stewart Lee Udall Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C., as part of a weeklong protest against the Biden administration for not ending contracts for oil pipelines, among different demands.
Videos confer a crowd of demonstrators on the steps of the building, with some attempting to climb through the doors. The organization said, "55 Indigenous people were arrested; police tased and hit various people with batons." One officer went to the hospital for injuries.
Federal Protective Service personnel responded to the area to "mitigate the situation," the agency announced in a statement.
"Multiple injuries were sustained by security personnel, and one officer has been transported to a nearby hospital," declared Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz. "Medics representing both the Department and the protesters were present."
"Federal Protective Service personnel responded to the area to mitigate the situation," Schwartz went on. "Centering the voices of lawful protesters is and will continue to be an important foundation of our democracy. It is also our obligation to keep everyone safe. We will continue to do everything we can to de-escalate while honoring first amendment rights."
The Federal Protective Service announced that other law enforcement agencies assisted it in attempts "to detain, prosecute or take action against anyone who caused harm and attempted to disrupt the business of the federal government yesterday," according to a statement reported by The Hill.
The demonstrators issued a statement celebrating the demonstration as the "first occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs by Indigenous peoples since the 1970s."
"We will no longer allow the U.S. government to separate us from our relationship to the sacred knowledge of Mother Earth and all who depend on her [...] We will not back down until our natural balance is restored," they wrote.
Journalist Andy Ngo, who covers Antifa, called the scene "reminiscent of Jan. 6." Meanwhile, after campaigning on reining in oil and gas companies and checking climate change, President Joe Biden is scrambling to discover methods to lower energy prices — and counting on advice from the industry.
The average per-gallon price of gasoline stands at $3.29 nationally, the highest level in seven years. Oil is likewise at its highest price in that time frame. Rising natural gas prices are supposed to raise heating bills by roughly 30% this winter. With general inflation further high and dragging down Biden's approval ratings, rising energy prices are a threat to the president's agenda.