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Burning Man traffic met with severe roadblock by climate activists

Anti-capitalist climate change coalition Seven Circles is seeking to ban "private jets, single use plastics, unnecessary propane burning, and unlimited generator use" at the annual Nevada festival

Aerial shot of Burning Man in the Nevada Desert

A group of anti-capitalist climate change activists blocked the main road to Burning Man and halted traffic this past weekend. 

Several members of climate activist coalition Seven Circles set up a 28-foot trailer across the two-lane highway leading to the Burning Man site in Black Rock Desert, Nevada on Sunday, 28th August, the Guardian reports. They displayed signs that read "Burners of the world, unite!", "Abolish capitalism" and "General strike for climate" with some protestors chaining themselves to the trailer. Festivalgoers' vehicles were stopped and backed up for about an hour before Nevada Rangers forced the group to move, ran an SUV through the trailer to flatten it and arrested the activists at gunpoint.

"The purpose of the blockade is to draw attention to capitalism's inability to address climate and ecological breakdown", Seven Circles said in a press statement. "The blockade is also in protest against the popularization of Burning Man among affluent people who do not live the stated values of Burning Man, resulting in the commodification of the event".

Among their list of demands is a call to "ban private jets, single use plastics, unnecessary propane burning, and unlimited generator use per capita at the nine day event in Black Rock City, Nevada".

A video from the scene by journalist Michelle Lhooq shows Burners trying to dismantle and drive around the blockade, calling the police and arguing with the activists. See Lhooq's series of clips in full here. Footage from Freedom News TV's Oliya Scootercaster shows more physical altercations between the protestors and Burners, as well as the Nevada Rangers ramming through the trailer and making arrests. 

Burners and Rangers can be heard criticizing the Seven Circles activists for staging a blockade on tribal Native American land and in desert heat. "There's people with medical problems here, and they shouldn’t be in the f***ing hot sun", one man said. 

“Burning Man itself was born as a protest to the growth-dependent capitalist default world. As Burners, we understand the power of community and have shown time and time again that we can create a new society, with new rules that include dignity for every living being. We must extend these principles into the default world after 37 years of practice. We can no longer remain apolitical in a time of crisis,” said Emily Collins, a Burner and co-founder of "Rave Revolution" of the protest in Seven Circles' press email. 

“The time has come. Burning Man should aim to have the same type of political impact that Woodstock had on counter-culture. If we are honest about system change, it needs to start at 'home'. Ban the lowest hanging fruit immediately: private jets. No single individual should have the luxury of emitting 10 to 20 times more carbon pollution than a commercial airline passenger. Burners, rebel with us,” said Mun Chong, fellow Burner and organiser with Extinction Rebellion.

28th August marked the first day Burning Man 2023 opened to the general public after being delayed one day due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Hilary, the Independent reports

Last year's Burning Man ended with a 12-hour traffic jam as 80,000 attendees tried to leave the festival site.