Seven activists affiliated with Greenpeace USA mounted a protest against Donald Trump and his administration on 25 January 2017, when they unfurled a giant banner reading “RESIST” on a construction crane visible over the White House.
The group climbed onto the crane early in the day, drawing a crowd as they unveiled the 70-pound, 70-foot by 35-foot banner. A spokesperson for the organization, Travis Nichols, told us that the activists had not descended from the crane.
“I assume that they will be charged and that they will be detained,” he said.
The group included the chair of GreenPeace USA’s board, Karen Topakian, as well as what Nichols described as a group of environmental activists from around the country:
People in this country are ready to resist and rise up in ways they have never done before. While Trump’s disdain and disrespect for our democratic institutions scare me, I am so inspired by the multigenerational movement of progress that is growing in every state. Greenpeace has used nonviolence to resist tyrannical bullies since 1971, and we’re not going to stop now.
Greenpeace also promoted the protest online with pictures and videos, including a video shot from the top of the crane (300 feet in the air) by one of Topakian’s fellow demonstrators, Nancy Pili Hernandez:
At one point in the six-minute video, Hernandez said:
This is a message that we have to push back. We can’t just accept it. This is the second time in my lifetime that an election has been lost by someone who then took power. And then we were just told that, ‘That’s democracy and that’s the system and so you just have to accept that new person as the president. That mistake has already happened twice in my lifetime and I refuse to allow this system to be passed on to my nieces and my future kids and my future grandkids.
The demonstration came a few days after millions took to the streets in various cities as part of the Women’s March on Washington protests, as well as a series of tweets by the Badland National Park’s account related to climate change. Though the tweets were later deleted and blamed on a former employee “compromising” the account, they were interpreted as a show of defiance toward Trump’s administration.
Nichols said of the Badlands tweets that:
It was surprisingly galvanizing, and it showed that it didn’t need to be something huge. That there can be everyday acts of resistance that people can really take to heart.
According to the Washington Post, the crane sits on the site of the newspaper’s former headquarters, which is being transformed into new offices for Fannie Mae.