A climate change protest in D.C. this week devolved into chaos as participants attempted to force their way into the Department of the Interior building.
Although law enforcement officers were on hand to push back against the protesters, the incident has led to some criticism that officials react differently depending on which political faction is behind a particular demonstration.
“Honoring First Amendment rights”
Interior Department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz asserted that security personnel sustained injuries, including one officer who was transported to an area hospital for treatment.
“Medics representing both the Department and the protesters were present,” Schwartz said, adding that it is the agency’s “obligation to keep everyone safe” and it would work to “de-escalate the situation while honoring First Amendment rights.”
Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson addressed the situation in on-air remarks on Friday, drawing a contrast between the way these activists were treated and the response to rioters at the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
He went on to assert that “by the standards now set by the behavior on Jan. 6,” the climate change protest should be considered “an insurrection against the government.”
Instead of reacting the same way, however, Carlson said: “Well, the Department of the Interior under Joe Biden just issued a statement that refused to condemn it or the rioters.”
“Because they voted for Joe Biden”
The host read from the agency’s statement that it “believes strongly in respecting and upholding the right to free speech and peaceful protest,” adding his conclusion that participants are “not insurrectionists” but “peaceful protesters because they voted for Joe Biden.”
Carlson further cited examples in which those arrested for their actions on Jan. 6 have been denied bail and were held in solitary confinement.
“This is what happens when law enforcement becomes partisan,” he concluded. “This is the nightmare scenario. This is the country you don’t want to live in.”
He described today’s America as one “that judges you on the basis of who you vote for” while threatening to “put you in jail if you vote the wrong way.”
Carlson echoed the concerns of many Americans in his diagnosis of the situation, declaring: “It’s not democracy, it’s anarchical tyranny. It is selective punishment, even as they ignored the rule of law.”