Jane Fonda was arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday while participating in a climate change protest.
The celebrity activist was among 16 people charged with unlawfully demonstrating. Capitol Police said they had committed a misdemeanor under a Washington law prohibiting protesters from obstructing public building entrances.
Fonda, an 81-year-old Oscar-winning actress and Vietnam War objector, said she plans on being arrested at the Capitol every week for the rest of the year in the name of preventing climate catastrophe.
“We have to ensure that the climate crisis remains front and center,” she said. “I’ve been feeling that I wasn’t doing enough.”
Fonda joined fellow demonstrators in chanting: “There’s no future in fossils.”
She said she wanted to show solidarity with young climate change strikers like Greta Thunberg and claimed the warming of the planet is driven by the same forces as was American chattel slavery.
“The same toxic ideology that took this land from people who already lived here, that kidnapped people from Africa, turning them into slaves to work that stolen land, justified it by saying that those kidnapped and displaced people were not human beings, cut down the forests and exhausted the natural world just as it did the people — this foundational ideology is the same one that has brought us the human-driven climate change that we’re facing today,” she said.
In DC at dinner with the young student climate strikers who have so inspired me. Sunrise Movement, Friday’s for the Future..they’re smart and brave.
I’m in the black beret ? @sunrisemvmt pic.twitter.com/FQ70WimHQz
— Jane Seymour Fonda (@Janefonda) October 7, 2019
According to Fonda, the protest — which was the first in a series branded Fire Drill Fridays — was intended to pressure lawmakers to “phase out” fossil fuels and support the Green New Deal, a sweeping environmental initiative proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat.
Capitol Police took Fonda into custody shortly before noon and later released her. She faced a fine of up to $250 and up to 90 days in jail if convicted of unlawful demonstration.
Last week, Fonda told the Washington Post that she will move to Washington, D.C., for the next four months to continue to take part in the climate change protests.
“I’m going to take my body, which is kind of famous and popular right now because of the series, and I’m going to go to D.C. and I’m going to have a rally every Friday,” she said. “It’ll be called ‘Fire Drill Friday.’ And we’re going to engage in civil disobedience and we’re going to get arrested every Friday.”
In the 1960s and 1970s, Fonda was known for her controversial liberal activism. She was active in the Blank Panthers and started a started a vaudeville troupe with actor Donald Sutherland as an alternative to the U.S.O.-sponsored shows of Bob Hope for entertaining soldiers.
In 1972, Fonda infamously visited North Vietnam, where she urged American pilots to stop the bombings during the war and was photographed sitting on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, earning her the pejorative nickname “Hanoi Jane.”
She has since apologized for the stunt.