ROCKVILLE, Md. (DC News Now) — Maryland State Police (MSP) said that seven people face charges after they shut down part of Interstate 495 in Montgomery County Monday morning.

Troopers said several people called them shortly before 10:30 a.m. to say that protestors dressed in neon vests and holding signs were blocking the inner loop of I-495 at Route 29. MSP said more than 10 demonstrators were sitting in the roadway and blocking all traffic. Other protestors were walking around with signs.

The group is part of Declare Emergency, which wants President Joe Biden to “declare a climate emergency,” and which has had similar demonstrations for awhile now.

“We are facing a situation where we’re probably going to see more suffering in the world than it has ever been seen in human history because of climate change,” said Declare Emergency Member Paul Severance.

Troopers and officers from the Montgomery County Department of Police asked the demonstrators to leave a number of time so that they could issue criminal citations to them. MSP said after giving several warnings, police arrested seven people and took them to the Montgomery County Detention Center for Processing.

“For the disruption that we did here for an hour, maybe maximum, the disruption that is coming to us all with the climate crisis is going to be far far worse,” said Declare Emergency Member, Michelle Wehner.

The people arrested were:

  • Robert Achison, 74, of Vermont
  • William Regan, 43, of Oregon
  • Nora Swisher, 32, of Maryland
  • Mary Osterbrink, 68, of North Carolina
  • Andrew Hinz, 61, of Maryland
  • Holley White, 58, of New York
  • Jason Goward, 38, of Michigan

All of them face charges of Obstructing or Hindering the Free Passage of Another in a Public Place or on a Public Conveyance and Failing to Obey Law Enforcement Officer Who Attempts to Prevent a Disturbance to the Public Peace.

The interstate reopened by 11:15 a.m.