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'Declare Emergency' | 7 arrested after protests shut down Capital Beltway in Montgomery Co.

A climate group tweeted video of individuals stopping traffic on the interstate Monday, demanding change from the president on Indigenous People's Day.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Seven men and women were arrested Monday after protests shut down I-495, most of whom are from out of state.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m., Maryland State Police responded to the inner loop of I-495 at U.S. Route 29 following a number of calls. 

A climate activism group, called Declare Emergency, tweeted that individuals headed to the interstate to stop traffic and call on President Joe Biden to declare an emergency and end fossil fuel extraction on indigenous land.

Protesters were dressed in neon vests, holding signs and blocking the road, according to police. They said that more than 10 pedestrians were sitting in the road and blocking all lanes of traffic, while several were walking around and holding signs. 

Troopers and police say they asked protestors "multiple times" to leave, so they could be issued a criminal citation. However, officials said that after several warnings, those who did not comply were arrested without incident. Traffic was diverted in the meantime.

The beltway was reopened by 11:15 a.m. All of those arrested were charged with obstructing or hindering the free passage of another in a public place or on a public conveyance and failing to obey a law enforcement officer who attempts to prevent a disturbance to the public peace. 

The seven arrested include: 

  • Robert Achison, 74, of Vermont
  • William Regan, 43, of Oregon
  • Nora Swisher, 32, of Maryland
  • Mary Osterbrink, 68, of North Carolina
  • Andrew Hinz, 61, of Maryland
  • Holley White, 58, of New York
  • Jason Goward, 38, of Michigan

All seven were transported to the Montgomery County Detention Center for processing. 

It's not the first time this year climate protests tied up traffic on the Beltway on a holiday. 

In July of 2022, police said 14 people were arrested after a group blocked lanes near exit 30, at U.S. 29/Colesville Road for about 90 minutes. 

WATCH: Climate protesters sitting on roadway block lanes of I-495 inner loop


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