38 climate protesters arrested after disruption at Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ State of the State

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Protesters urging climate action interrupted — and then were forced out of — the Colorado State Capitol on Thursday ahead of and during the governor’s State of the State address.

Minutes before Gov. Jared Polis arrived in the House of Representatives, several people seated in the chamber’s upstairs gallery shouted “mic check!” before shouting various calls for new climate policy, including a fracking ban.

Multiple protesters could be seen being physically dragged out of the gallery, some in handcuffs. According to the Denver Police Department, 38 protesters were taken into custody on charges including trespassing, disrupting a lawful assembly and obstruction of a peace officer.

Climate protesters just interrupted the Colorado House of Representatives ahead of the governor’s State of the State. I’ve seen several people dragged out of the chamber. pic.twitter.com/kqjllrZssn

— Alex Burness (@alex_burness) January 9, 2020

There was a brief calm after a tense flare-up, and Polis entered the room to the customary standing ovation. He shook hands and, as soon as he took to the lectern, one person in the gallery shouted “ban fracking now!” and was swiftly forced out of the room.

At one point, protesters unveiled a large anti-fracking banner.

“Ban fracking now!” a protester shouts just as the governor begins the State of the State. pic.twitter.com/FafJX4iACg

— Alex Burness (@alex_burness) January 9, 2020

Soon after, a large group assembled to chant and protest in the hallways of the Capitol, and some of their sound seeped into the House chamber where Polis was speaking.

This crowd, too, was quickly forced out of the building. An exasperated Colorado State Patrol officer could be heard yelling at the protesters for being disruptive.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Protestors affix a sign to the railing of the house gallery shortly before being removed from the event during the State of the State address at the Capitol in Denver on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020.

Many of the protesters were affiliated with the groups Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion.

Polis met with reporters about two hours after the incident, but was not keen to discuss the protest or the oil and gas industry in general. He said he could not comment on the protesters because he didn’t see them with his own eyes.

Pressed on the issue, Polis eventually said he does not believe fracking should be banned.

“That’s never been my position,” he said.

This content was originally published here.

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