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Michigan State climate activists disrupt Buttigieg speech

In a coinciding campus event, picketing protesters demanded a call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war

Michigan State University student climate activists protested Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s speech at the Kellogg Center on campus Wednesday night, leading to one arrest.

Activists from the organization Climate Defiance chanted “Stop Petrol Pete!” and rushed the stage until police removed them from the venue, The State News, Michigan State’s student paper, reported Thursday.

Michigan State police arrested one man for violating MSU Ordinance 15.03 regarding “Disorderly Assemblages or Conduct,” Police and Public Safety Spokesperson Dana Whyte told the outlet.

Video posted last night to X shows campus police escorting unruly, chanting protesters out of the venue.

Climate Defiance member Jo Pico told State News that Buttigieg participates directly in government decisions regarding energy use, and Climate Defiance went to the event specifically to protest the Department of Transportation’s approval to construct a seaport oil terminal in Texas.

“That’s going to emit 7 billion metric tons of emissions, on top of just worsening the air quality along the Texas coast,” she told State News.

After police escorted activists out of the venue, Buttigieg addressed the crowd, stating that the Biden administration has “delivered the most sweeping and vicious climate change in human history,” in reference to the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers federal tax credits for clean energy projects, the paper reported.

A separate, picket protest against Buttigieg took place before his speech, in the parking structure connected to the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Students and community members demanded the U.S. government call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Protesting student groups included Students United for Palestinian Rights, Greater Lansing Democratic Socialists of America, MSU Arab Cultural Society, the Sunrise Movement at MSU, and the Jewish Voice for Peace chapter at MSU.

“Buttigieg you can’t hide; you’re supporting genocide,” protesters chanted.

MORE: Scientist says he left out ‘full truth’ to get climate change paper published

IMAGE: @austin_gergens/X

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