The people of the world are frustrated with how slow climate change is progressing. We need to do more, and we need to do it faster. That’s what 50,000 protesters marched on the streets of New York City demanding yesterday according to The Guardian. They were part of a global march that took place in over 150 countries worldwide calling for governments to take action on climate change.
In New York, the protesters were demanding for a ban on fracking and halting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. In response, they were met with police aggression as many journalists on scene have taken to twitter to post about their experiences of being pepper sprayed and even arrested while attempting to cover the event. One journalist had his press pass thrown on the ground by a police officer as he was being handcuffed.
Another form of aggression that was noted by some journalists covering the event, including myself, is how we were treated before even stepping foot on the premises. As press, it is our job to cover newsworthy events and I took it upon myself to do just that at this protest. However, before I could even make it to the cordoned off areas where protesters were marching, I was confronted by police officers who told me that I wasn’t allowed in because I didn’t have a press badge. Being confused by this statement, especially since the protest just started and press badges hadn’t been given out yet, I informed them that I was media and that I wanted to be on the other side where the protesters were. To this they responded by saying “you don’t have a press badge, you can’t go in.#
Confused, I informed them again that I was media , but they continued to repeat themselves by stating I told you, if you don’t have a press badge, you can’t go in. At this point I started to become frustrated that these officers weren’t listening to me and were refusing to let me do my job. The female officer then made it clear that she didn’t care who I was or what my purpose for being there was, because unless I had a press badge, I wasn’t allowed into that area. I then began to explain that the protest hadn’t even started yet, so how could I have gotten a press badge?
At this time, one of the male officers asked me if I had any credentials on me- which would prove who I was and what my purpose for being there was. I showed them both my school ID and press pass- which had my name, student email address, and phone number. They then told me that those would not suffice as I was not currently a working member of the press and thus unable to enter the premises without a press badge . They also said that if I wanted to get inside the cordoned off area, I would have to go down to the other end of the park where credentials were being handed out. No matter how many times I tried to explain who I was and why I was there, these officers did not listen. Instead, they continued demanding me that unless I had a press badge, I could not be there.