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CULTURE | 29-10-2019 17:14

Jane Fonda arrested for civil disobedience during climate change march

A half-century after throwing her attention-getting celebrity status into Vietnam War protests, Fonda is now doing the same in a U.S. climate movement where the average age is 18.“My only issue with being arrested, for me, is being old,” joked Fonda.

The greater movement for fighting climate change, sparked and grown by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thurnberg, has inspired massive mobilizations around the world. One of those inspired is Hollywood actress Jane Fonda, who started an organization to protest in front of the Capitol building in Washington, DC. 

The group, called Fire Drill Friday, has protested the past three Fridays; all three times Fonda has been arrested for “civil disobedience.”

“The only problem with being arrested, to me, is that I’m old,” joked the 81-year-old actress who each week is joined by more followers on the steps of the Hill. Last Friday, more than 100 people joined Fonda in the Fire Drill Friday protest, 32 of which were taken by police for statements. Fonda, accompanied by actor Ted Danson, were the faces of the protests; despite arrests, they plan to continue marching onto the Capitol on upcoming Fridays. 

“What would you say to President Trump if you could?” journalists asked her as she was escorted away by the police. Bitter, Fonda answered: “I wouldn’t waste my breath on him.”

Upon this, she won the crowd, many clapping and screaming in her support. She hopes that even more join the protests next week. Many of the demands of the Fire Drill Friday movement echo that of environmental groups around the country: the reduction of fossil fuel use, the protection of oceans, and the creation of a new international treaty that would prevent governments from continuing to pollute the environment. 

“As Greta said, we have to act as if our own houses were on fire,” explained the actress as she was arrested. 

A life-long commitment

It is not the first time that the actress has shown her commitment to social causes. In 1970, she was declared persona non grata by the FBI due to her political protests for civil liberties and against the Vietnam War. During this time, she was not shy of criticism, even receiving retaliation threats due to her thoughts and actions.

Despite the threats, Fonda continued to be outspoken, joining causes that supported human rights. Many of her own personal projects raised funds for such causes. In 1981, Fonda donated the $US 20 million her book earned to the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a national lobbying association. With this, she looked to spark the social progress of the country’s most poor. 

In the past decades, Fonda started abandoning protests and marches due to her age. Yet after seeing Thunberg in the climate strikes around the world, she decided it was a good time to come back. “I’m going to use my bode, which by now is definitely not only popular, but famous, and we’re going to have a protest every Friday,” assured Fonda through her social media accounts. 


by Perfíl/Agustín Jamele

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