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27 Arrested as Protesters Rally at State House, Demand Action on Climate Change

“I don’t want to get arrested,” said Owen Woodcock, one of the 27 taken into custody. “It’s not a fun thing to do, but climate change is that important to me.”

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More than two dozen climate change protesters were arrested Friday after refusing to leave the Massachusetts State House when it closed for the day, police said.

One by one, 27 demonstrators were brought out of the State House by police officers after they refused to leave when the building closed at 5 p.m. Hours later, they were bailed out.

“I don’t want to get arrested,” said Owen Woodcock, one of the 27 taken into custody. “It’s not a fun thing to do, but climate change is that important to me.”

The arrests took place after a day of protests that began with hundreds of students and activists making their way through the streets of Boston then over to Beacon Hill and then to the front door of the governor’s office.

“I took a final exam this morning then came straight here because this is the most important issue of our generation,” said Maya Mudgal, a student at Northeastern. “ I want to be part of the fight for it.”

The rally for climate change was one of many across the country Friday.

“This has been the most energizing experience of my life and I’m so inspired and so hopeful,” said Brookline High School student Saya Amelia Hajebi. “This is what gets me out of bed every morning.”

Protesters in Boston demanded a meeting with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

They want the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and turn to an economy that uses 100-percent clean, renewable energy by 2030.

“I wanted to be here today because I believe that non-violent civil disobedience is an important and strong tactic to get our message across,” said Emily Leibiger, a Northeastern student.

The protesters marched from Copley Square to the State House calling for measures to ensure clean water and air as well as an end to the use of fossil fuels.

The event came as countries gathered in Madrid for the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Massachusetts has to be the leader,” said U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal who has made fighting climate change a centerpiece of his reelection campaign. “Massachusetts is a technology giant of the planet.”

Young people from all across Massachusetts gathered in Bostn's Back Bay for a rally on climate change.

“I want my grandkids and my kids to have a world that they can live in,” added Alex Corbett, who participated in the rally.   

The 27 activists who refused to leave the State House when it closed down for the evening were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor of trespassing in a state building. 

“Being willing to sacrifice and put yourself on the line in a peaceful way, to fight for what you believe in, to fight for others in Massachusetts, is incredibly important,” said Brian Stilwell, who was arrested.

The 15 women and 12 men who were taken into custody had to pay a fee of $40 to be bailed out and they are expected to be in Boston Municipal Court next week. 

They did not get their meeting with the governor.

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