Climate protests block Burning Man traffic
Traffic into Burning Man was brought to a standstill by anti-capitalist climate activists on the opening day of the event.
The New York Post reports that five protesters from the Seven Circles Alliance used a trailer to block the road in and out of the countercultural gathering, which runs from 27 August to 4 September in Nevada’s Black Rock desert in the US.
The group describes itself as a “diverse coalition that uses non-violent direct action to raise class consciousness within the climate movement”. It says the stunt was designed to highlight “capitalism’s inability to address climate’s ecological breakdown”, and as a protest against the “popularisation of Burning Man among affluent people who do not live the stated values of Burning Man, resulting in the commodification of the event”.
It adds that the festival’s goal of being carbon-negative by 2030 is “insufficient to tackle the pressing crisis.”
Often dubbed an “anti-festival”, Burning Man was founded in 1986 and has grown from a three-day, 80-person ‘zone trip’ to an nine-day event attended by around 80,000 people, including Silicon Valley CEOs and other business leaders.
The protest was shut down when a ranger drove into the blockade and arrested the campaigners
The protest, which caused traffic tailbacks spanning several miles, was shut down when a ranger from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal (PLPT) police drove into the blockade and arrested the campaigners, who have since been released. A video of the incident has been viewed millions of times on social media.
Seven Circles criticised the police’s response as “excessive”.
“The use of excessive force and the criminalisation of peaceful protesters serve to maintain the status quo for those in power,” says the organisation. “This level of force may have been in response to a civilian who called 911 and falsely reported that the Seven Circles activists had a firearm. This is just one instance in the epidemic of civilians weaponising the police through false reporting.”
In a statement to NBC, the PLPT says: “One ranger used his patrol vehicle to move the blockade debris out of the roadway to allow Burning Man traffic to proceed. The involved Ranger’s conduct is under review.”
Car and buses separated in new T in the Park transport set-up
Following previous revelations that 2016’s festival will have a reconfigured, more spacious arena and a larger, better stewarded campsite, T in the Park has concluded its trio of announcements about the new infrastructure for July’s rejuvenated event.
Improvements include separate roads for buses and cars accessing the site; a large new bus station with over 40 stands; one dedicated pick-up and drop-off point; and a number of new car parks. Each transport hub will have dedicated management teams and facilities T in the Park promoter DJ Concerts says will “ensure the comfort of festivalgoers”.
The new set-up is being managed by the T in the Park’s new traffic manager, former road police inspector Ian Martin. “The changes to the on-site transport set-up are significant,” Martin says. “We’ve not tweaked last year’s: we started with a blank piece of paper and after months of testing and liaising with our partner agencies, including Transport Scotland, Perth and Kinross Council and Police Scotland, as well as local community councils, we have a solid plan in place.
“The separated routes for buses and cars will help keep traffic moving and the bus station will make travelling with Citylink and Big Green Coach the best ways to get to and from the festival. With an event of this scale, an element of patience will always be required when getting in and out of the site, but I can guarantee this will be of a normal level and managed by an experienced team.”
The changes are explained in a new video from the festival, embedded below:
All the new changes come as part of a major management restructuring for the festival. Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn was brought in as executive producer after last year’s event, its first at Strathallan Castle, which was heavily was criticised for its traffic congestion, failings on crowd control and security and repeated breaches of planning permission.
The criticism culminated in January, when Perth and Kinross Council warned that the festival’s future is in jeopardy “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future”.
The Stone Roses, Calvin Harris, Red Hot Chili Peppers and LCD Soundsystem are headlining T in the Park 2016.