A dozen climate activists were arrested Monday after they refused to leave the driveway of a New Jersey congressman’s home, police and reports said.
A group of about 40 people allegedly gathered in Russell Farms Park in Wyckoff at about 1 p.m., before they left the park and descended on Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s home.
Cops warned the protesters not to block any roadways or trespass on private property in the residential neighborhood, Wyckoff Police Department said — though they didn’t mention the congressman by name.
“An individual who identified herself as the law enforcement liaison for the group advised that certain demonstrators had assembled with the intent of being arrested,” the release stated.
“Twelve of the demonstrators ignored police orders to vacate the private driveway that they had entered.”
Gottheimer, a Democrat, has become a favorite target of activists who view the moderate as a holdout in passing a much-debated $3.5 trillion bill filled with progressive initiatives.
The climate activist group Sunrise took credit for Monday’s protest and photos showed picketers with signs bearing slogans like “You swim in corporate cash” and “No climate, no deal,” northjersey.com reported.
“It is ridiculous that it has come to the point where folks need to get arrested to get legislation that would be saving their lives passed but Gottheimer does not understand the urgency of this issue as he basks in his privilege,” the group said in a statement, according to the news site.
Gottheimer wasn’t home at the time, a spokesman said.
“Occupying a congressman’s property crosses a line of basic decency and, in this case, left his family concerned for their safety,” the spokesman told NJ.com.
Those arrested were slapped with criminal trespass charges, Wyckoff police said. They ranged in age from 18 to 37 years old and were listed by authorities as living as far as Brooklyn and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Gottheimer has favored the House passing a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that’ll fund roadway work and other projects, but progressives have pushed to tie that bill to the larger social spending bill, the Build Back Better Act.
With a tight eight-seat majority in the House, some liberal-leaning Democrats and activists have wanted to tie the spending plans together because they fear passing the infrastructure bill without an agreement on the large bill could mean moderates pass on the larger bill and doom it to failure, USA Today stated.
Gottheimer said in a statement he’d met with President Joe Biden at the White House Tuesday to discuss the infrastructure bill.