Dozens of people were arrested outside the Senate majority leader's office, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), After more than 200 people gathered to request a meeting with the senator on a proposal to fight climate change.
The protest – the first of the week scheduled in Senators' offices across the country – was a response to McConnell's plan to hold a vote on the Green New Deal, a manifesto for climate and economic change led by First-year representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the organizers said.
The Senate proposal – which is a non-binding resolution – calls for a redesign of US infrastructure, manufacturing systems and transportation systems to reduce carbon emissions across the country.
McConnell, who called for a vote on the measure to portray the Democrats as a divided country, was not found on Monday as protesters filled his office and held a sit-in in the hall outside. .
McConnell spokesperson Stephanie Penn said, "Like all Kentuckians visiting California, we welcomed them to the office." Twenty protesters were high school students in Kentucky, the organizers said.
Last week, said Penn, the director of the senator in Kentucky proposed to meet the group, but the students refused. When the group returned Thursday, she said, the students and the director met in person to discuss their concerns.
Although the protesters gathered protesters barely 7 years old, the 42 people arrested were over 18, the police said. The police tied the wrists of the protesters before taking them away. They were charged with unlawful assembly, obstruction or discomfort after dozens of them refused to leave the room.
The organizers said Kentucky high school students traveled to Washington on Monday after being unable to reach McConnell at his Louisville office, while they were camping there for several days.
"They decided to come downtown because the staff in his Kentucky office told them he was here this week. But no matter where they go, he does not listen to his constituents, "said Stephen O'Hanlon, spokesperson and organizer of the Sunrise movement. "We want senators to be warned that if they do not argue with the interests of oil and gas, we will remember when it will be our turn to reject them."
At a rally in front of Union Station, speakers highlighted recent natural disasters, job losses and other consequences of politicians' refusal to cope with climate change.
The "Sunrise Movement", a self-described "youth army," is the same group that organized a Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and about 15 high school students from the San Francisco area met last week. In a lavish exchange with the kids from his San Francisco office, Feinstein said, "You come here and you say that it must be to my taste or on the road." She stated that she "did not respond to that".
A video of the exchange tweeted by the group was viewed more than 9 million times.
Outside of McConnell's office on Monday, young activists waved yellow placards saying, "Green New Deal now – walk away or move away" and "Mitch, look us in the eye."
While they were being taken away by the police, the protesters sang in unison.
On Tuesday, more than 70 demonstrations and sit-ins are planned in the country's congressional offices, where young activists will ask their representatives to support the Green New Deal.
"Young people, especially those under 18, will be most affected by climate change, and it is morally wrong that politicians do not take young people seriously on this issue," O'Hanlon said. "They're going to be affected – not Mitch McConnell."