Eight environmental activists with the climate justice group Extinction Rebellion Boston were arrested at the Massachusetts State House after disrupting a Senate session Thursday, baring their backsides to members of the Legislature, revealing the painted-on message, “STOP PASSING GAS.”
Around 1 p.m., the protesters gathered inside the State House on the balcony at the fourth floor Senate West Gallery, where a public, formal session was being conducted, State Police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement.
“Their actions caused a major disruption of the work of State House employees,” Procopio said in the statement.
According to a press release from Extinction Rebllion, one of the protesters “delivered a brief verbal memorandum” to the Legislature vocalizing the group’s demand that lawmakers ban new fossil fuel infrastructure and stop current construction of new projects. The speaker then announced the group’s intention to expose their derrières.
“You can look away if you like, but just like the climate crisis, we’ll get more inconvenient until proper action is taken,” the demonstrator said, according to the press release.
🚨BREAKING NEWS: Today 8 climate activists from Extinction Rebellion MOONED the Massachusetts Legislature in bright pink thongs, demanding #NoNewFossilFuelInfrastructure.— Extinction Rebellion Boston 🐝⌛🦋 (@XRBoston) June 15, 2023
Full press release here: https://t.co/j4sQgUd4W0 @statehousenews @BostonGlobe @reillyadam #StopPassingGas pic.twitter.com/djZgxutsGg
Protesters also sang anti-fossil fuel songs to the tune of “Milkshake” by Kelis. “Energy is what we need to pass and they’re like, it’s better than gas, damn right, it’s better than gas,” they sang in a video posted on Twitter.
Tired of government falling BEHIND the times on the #ClimateEmergency? Want to make a CHEEKY statement, BUTT aren't sure how? Today 8 XR Boston Rebels mooned their Legislature, demanding #NoNewFossilFuelInfrastructure! @ExtinctionR @ScientistRebel1 @NoCoalNoGas @JustStop_Oil pic.twitter.com/dZmt4VBA1B— Extinction Rebellion Boston 🐝⌛🦋 (@XRBoston) June 15, 2023
Around 2 p.m., the protesters were placed under arrest, Procopio said in the statement. All were charged with trespassing on state property, disorderly conduct, and indecent exposure.
Those arrested include three men, two women, and three non-binary demonstrators, according to Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Brian Okum. Arresting officers did not communicate specific grounds for arrest, Okum wrote in an email to the Globe Thursday.
The Senate declared a recess around 1:10 p.m. and resumed around 1:50 p.m., Procopio said. At 1:55 p.m., a Senate Sergeant at Arms informed the group the gallery was closed, they were trespassing and subject to arrest, Procopio said, but the group refused to leave.
“The subjects were repeatedly advised of options other than arrest including using the criminal summons process,” Procopio said in the statement. “All efforts to mediate the process were refused by the expressed desire to be arrested.”
Extinction Rebellion, or XR, is well-known for its acts of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice. It is the fourth time members of the group have been arrested this year. In May, nine protesters were arrested after occupying the gallery of the Massachusetts House for five hours. Demonstrators were also arrested for occupying Governor Maura Healey’s office in February, and blocking the entrance to a controversial electrical substation in January.