Tourists and workers on Wall Street on Monday met an unpleasant sight: protesters, some lying in fake pools near the New York Stock Exchange, some dancing and chanting, all to pay attention to people killed by climatic diseases and disasters.
“Recessed in the attic” read one sign in the shape of a cardboard tombstone lying next to a protester playing the dead; another read: "Failed to overcome fire".
Protesters, led by the protest group "Rebellion", began five days of civil disobedience planned around the city, country and the rest of the world.
About 90 people were arrested Monday, according to the New York Police Department.
Founded less than a year ago, The Extinction Riot which has thousands of members worldwide, closed the spit of London and other cities, gained followers across Europe and beyond, and pushed the climate higher on the political agenda daily.
It stands out among environmental groups, disrupting "business custom" with mass protests that combine the mourning of a soul day with the sometimes joyous street theater. The demonstrations demand that governments "tell the truth" about the severity and immediacy of climate change, and ask them to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 years earlier than any official target.
Now American members of the group – at least 200 protested on Monday – are importing this tactic into a country where climate change objection is more widespread .
Organizers and spectators were uncertain whether the group's tactics could be to arrest demonstrators and stop traffic in the United States. But they agreed that as the climate approached, the political agenda was worth a try.
"The political situation is so different that people do not even agree that there is a climate crisis," said Jack Baldwin, media news for the group.
Organizers say New York – with its liberal population, vulnerability to rising sea levels, rising youth climate change and new city and state climate legislation – is a good place to accelerate the group's move to the United States.
And Wall Street, the center of the global financial system, which the group blames on the continued use of fossil fuels, was a good first target.
But to succeed in the United States, said Russell Gray, the organizer of the Extinction Riot organization, the group will have to improve its efforts to build coalitions with poor communities of color that are disproportionately affected by environmental problems.
"For people who are just trying to live their lives, fearful of climate change and wondering what they can do about it, Extinction Rebellion proposes a theory of change: using mass protests against corporate power to force systemic change," Mr. Gray. "If it works, it can solve other problems," he said, similar to education, health and inequality issues that may seem more relevant to many Americans.
Most passers-by seemed anxious and largely support the protest on Monday, though one shouted, "Get a job!"
"The cost of these profits is the blood they leak," – a man at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street, where the imposing columned facade of the New York Stock Exchange faces one of the oldest streets in the country, exclaims the hill. Moments earlier, protesters held a "death" under the famous "Charging Bull" statue, pouring it with fake blood.
Another speaker accused the Wall Street oligarchs of warming the sea, which likely exacerbated hurricanes in places such as Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
A man in Paisley's fuchsia tie and swirling suit declared the protest "nonsense", adding: "Human activity has nothing to do with the sun heating the earth!" And then calls the protesters "hisses" "For who pays for this. "(Despite the recent $ 350,000 pledge of the Extermination Rebellion from the Millionaire Beneficiaries through the Climate Emergency Fund, organizers say that much of its support comes from small individual donations.)  Trade not – Most are now done online – but at least one financial company has commented on the protests: UBS issued a statement promoting "sustainable investments" as electric
. The crowd consisted of people of all ages and styles: " a gloomy reaper "in a white skeletal mask and cloak; a gray-haired woman in gauze-charm and pearly necktie; a group calling themselves Red Brigades, whose members wore red suits with white face paint.
Danika Novgorodoff, a mother of two and a Brooklyn-based graphic novelist working on a children's book on climate change, went stroller with her daughter, Ada, 7 weeks old.
"I want to make sure that there is still life to them," she said.
Stephanie Keith contributed to the reporting.