Protesters held a sit-in Thursday at the Interior Department building in downtown Washington and clashed with police as they challenged fossil fuel projects and called for the declaration of a climate emergency. Multiple arrests were reported.
An Interior Department spokeswoman said a group of protesters rushed the lobby, injuring at least one security officer who was taken to a nearby hospital. Police and protesters clashed outside the building, and officers used Tasers against several unarmed protesters, a spokeswoman for the protest group said.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was traveling Thursday and was not in the building during the protest.
“Interior Department leadership believes strongly in respecting and upholding the right to free speech and peaceful protest,” Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Haaland, said in a statement. “Centering the voices of lawful protesters is and will continue to be an important foundation of our democracy. It is also our obligation to keep everyone safe. We will continue to do everything we can to de-escalate the situation while honoring First Amendment rights.”