Jane Fonda, in an ongoing effort to call attention to the need for action on climate change, was arrested again on Friday at the Capitol, this time with her Grace and Frankie costar (and Law & Order vet) Sam Waterston.
Fonda, 81, and Waterston, 78, were joined by more than a dozen others who briefly blocked First Street on the east side of the Capitol, just in front of the Library of Congress. They had engaged in a rally, called Fire Drill Fridays, which is calling for immediate action on the environment with a Green New Deal.
They marched for a time along the Capitol grounds with demonstrators, chanting “Our house is on fire! Put the fire out!,” before making their way to the street, where officers arrived within about a minute.
Fellow demonstrators shouted “Jane, Jane” as she was put in plastic cuffs and then escorted into a wagon to be processed at a Capitol Police facility. Waterston was arrested soon after that, in what he said was his first time being detained.
Smiling and chatting with officers as they searched him and took away personal items, Waterston said, just before he was escorted to a separate wagon, “It’s good to be here.” A crowd of other protesters had clapped for Waterston after one of the demonstrators noted that it was his first arrest.
Asked by a reporter beforehand why it made sense to get arrested as a way to draw attention to the issue, Waterston said, “I have to do something. I don’t know. You got a better idea?”
At a rally before their arrests, Fonda called for the passage of the Green New Deal, comparing this moment to just the time of urgency that Americans faced in the 1930s with the Great Depression and another environmental catastrophe, the Dust Bowl.
“Make no mistake. Change is coming whether we like it or not, by disaster or by design,” Fonda said.
“People say that the Green New Deal is radical,” Waterston said at the rally. “What is radical is climate disruption.”
A Capitol Police spokeswoman said that 17 people were arrested and charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding. They were processed and released.
Fonda was arrested last Friday in the same protest project, when the demonstrators blocked the steps to the Capitol. Fonda has pledged to take part in 14 Fire Drill Fridays, until she has to resume production on her Netflix series Grace and Frankie (she has relocated, temporarily, from L.A. to Washington, D.C.). The actress said she credits 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg with inspiring her to take action.
The Fire Drill Fridays protests, organized by Fonda and Code Pink, are designed to focus attention on the impact of human activity on the climate as well as the lack of government response to the crisis.
Last week, Fonda and the other arrested protesters were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Their charges are a misdemeanor and generally carry fines of up to $500. The 16 protesters were processed and released.
They will likely face similar charges for their latest arrest. One of the organizers of the event said that they could face a night in jail if they are arrested for a third or fourth time, although there is some leeway on punishment.