A Maltese man was arrested in the US state of Nevada on Monday after state rangers broke up a climate protest blocking the road to a major music festival.
Tommy Diacono was arrested as part of a group of protesters after police rangers ploughed through a blockade on a road leading to the famous Burning Man music festival, according to footage shot by Freedom News TV.
The activists from Seven Circles group and Extinction Rebellion were roughly cuffed at gunpoint by the rangers, who were called to the scene by motorists following heated exchanges with the protesters.
After telling protesters they were going to “take all of you out,” rangers smashed through a metal barrier erected by the activists before starting to arrest the group at gunpoint, ordering them to “get down on the floor.”
At one point in the ruckus, a woman from the group of activists can be heard in the footage tearfully pleading with the rangers: “Please... we have no weapons at all, we’re environmental protesters.”
In the lead-up to the arrival of the rangers, the group was distributing flyers to cars in the miles-long line of traffic and discussing environmental issues with drivers, many of whom had gotten out of their vehicles.
Footage shows the protesters holding placards with slogans including “abolish capitalism” and “burners of the world”.
According to Guardian journalist Michelle Lhooq who was on the scene, the rangers told her they had received an emergency 911 call saying that someone in the crowd was going to start shooting at the activists, who were demanding a ban on private jets and an end to single-use plastics.
'Burners’ - the name given to those attending the Burning Man festival – were “not interested, " said Lhooq in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
The protesters, who said they are part of an activist coalition called Seven Circles, said the blockade was intended to "to draw attention to capitalism's inability to address climate and ecological breakdown" and to protest the "commodification" of Burning Man.
The group wants Burning Man - a festival that is built on counter-culture ideals - to adopt a more political stance concerning climate change, encouraging participants to take part in protests and banning private jets, single-use plastics, unnecessary propane burning and unlimited generator use during the nine-day annual event.