Burning Man traffic was brought to a recent standstill by a group of anti-capitalist climate change activists who blocked the main road to the festival.
The annual art and self-expression event is currently underway in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
On Sunday (28 August), nearly half a dozen protestors from the climate activist group Seven Circles stood in the middle of the road used to enter the desert venue. Others chained themselves to a trailer parked on the road.
Surrounded by signs and banners that read “Burners of the World, Unite!”, “Abolish Capitalism” and “General Strike for Climate”, the group said their protests were designed to draw attention to “capitalism’s inability to address climate’s ecological breakdown”, according to the New York Post.
They added that their protests were aimed at the “popularisation of Burning Man among affluent people who do not live the stated values of Burning Man, resulting in the commodification of the event.”
Seven Circles argued that the event’s goal of becoming carbon-negative by 2030 is “insufficient to tackle the pressing crisis”.
Video footage circulating social media shows Nevada rangers driving through the activist’s barricade before an officer begins wielding a gun and making arrests.
“You’re trespassing on tribal land,” another ranger informs a woman.
In one video before Nevada rangers arrived, a man wearing a cowboy hat printed with an American flag can be heard telling the activists that they are on “public property” as he tries to remove their barricade.
“Sorry, we’ve gotta f***ing move this f***ing mess,” he adds. “You can’t block a road!”
🚨#UPDATE This was before the Nevada Rangers arrived as Climate activists chained themselves into it as people stuck in traffic trying to attend the Burning Man festival try to shove and remove the blockade pic.twitter.com/TS6GFqkaht
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) August 28, 2023
“We’re chained down!” one woman points out, while others in the group tell the man he’s “going to hurt someone”.
“I don’t care. There’s people with medical problems here, and they shouldn’t be in the f***ing hot sun,” the man responds, pointing to the line of cars.
In a statement to The New York Post, Thomas Diocano, co-founder of Rave Revolution, a group that brings “together environmental organisations and dance music communities to manifest peaceful, yet disruptive protest raves”, said: “We do not have a climate problem, the climate is behaving exactly in line with the laws of physics.
“We have an economic system problem, and that economic system is capitalism,” Diocano continued.
“History shows that capitalism cannot be reformed. It cannot be changed from the ‘inside.’ Are we really ready to sacrifice everything for an outdated, unequal economic system? The time to evolve has come.”
Last week, Burning Man guests were distressed after Tropical Storm Hilary caused flooding on the site.