The skyline of downtown Washington, D.C. looked a little different on Wednesday morning after activists climbed a 270-foot crane that overlooks the White House and hung a massive banner that read “RESIST.”
The crane in question is, of all places, at the site of the new headquarters for Fannie Mae, currently under construction just a half mile away from the White House.
Here are more details from the Washington Post, which includes a pic:
Seven activists who D.C. police said are affiliated with Greenpeace climbed a construction crane in downtown Washington on Wednesday morning, snarling traffic and bringing work on a new office building to a halt.
At least two protesters attached themselves to the crane, police said, while others were on the outstretched arm, or jib. Two wearing safety harnesses descended down ropes, unfurling a 35-foot-by-75 foot banner emblazoned with the word “Resist.”
At times, two protesters were dangling from the jib, apparently using safety harnesses, as they unfurled the banner. Dozens of onlookers gathered at the scene, clutching coffee cups and peering upward over the site, the location of the former headquarters of The Washington Post. New offices for Fannie Mae are being constructed there.
The Washington Post article states that construction at Fannie Mae’s new headquarters will likely be delayed while the crane is inspected.
Again from the Washington Post:
Lee DeLong, a senior vice president for Bethesda-based Clark Construction, the lead contractor, said workers discovered the protesters and called police. He said the group broke into the secured site by breaking a lock. He also said that getting into the crane and up onto the arm requires knowledge of how a crane works.
“These aren’t amateurs,” DeLong said.
DeLong said he supports the decision by police to not send officers and firefighters up the crane to pull the protesters off, calling that maneuver dangerous. “Our primary concern is safety,” DeLong said. “I think the police and EMS response has been appropriate.”
DeLong said the protest has brought much of Wednesday’s work to a halt, and would so for the remainder of the day. He said that even if the protesters come down by noon, the crane would be out of commission for a series of safety inspections.
He would not say how much money the company is losing but said, “It is a significant impact.”
This is hardly the first time that Fannie Mae’s new building has been embroiled in controversy.
Last year, a report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General said that the Federal Housing Finance Agency had been lax in its duties as the overseer of Fannie Mae, and needs to do more to address the dramatically rising construction cost of Fannie Mae’s new offices.
For much more on that, click here.
And for more on Wednesday’s crane incident, click here or below.