A football game between two elite Ivy League universities froze for about an hour as a crowd of students and alumni staged a protest against investment in fossil fuels right on the playing field – and sparked an online outrage.
It was after the second quarter of the game at the Yale Bowl, New Haven, Connecticut, when scores of protesters from both colleges stormed the field, carrying banners and placards that accused the two prestigious universities of being “complicit in climate injustice” by investing in fossil fuel companies.
Watch as HUNDREDS of both Harvard and Yale students storm the field in solidarity with @DivestHarvard and @FossilFreeYale! By investing in fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt, Harvard and Yale prove to be complicit in the climate crisis. #DivestHarvard https://t.co/2lNIAagAK0 pic.twitter.com/krdWRUjsTN
— Harvard Students for Bernie (@Harvard4Bernie) November 23, 2019
Protesting under the slogan “nobody wins”, the climate activists that reportedly formed their movements as early as in 2012, demanded the colleges stop investing in oil, gas and coal companies.
#NobodyWins when our deteriorating climate leads to an irreversible global refugee crisis.
Hundreds of students & alumni flooded the field to join the demonstration because they recognize this truth. The power of the people will always prevail. pic.twitter.com/N3y96sfRcz
— Act on a Dream (@actonadream) November 23, 2019
Between 40 and 50 students rushed to the field first and attempted to stage a sit-in. They were soon followed by some 500 others, local media estimated. While most protesters then dispersed peacefully, a small group of activists refused to leave the field, forcing the police and the security officials to move in and take them away.
Hundreds of students, alums, & faculty are still occupying the field at #HarvardYale & demanding that both schools cancel Puerto Rican debt & #divest from fossil fuels!#NobodyWins in the exploitation of Puerto Ricans & #ClimateEmergency.pic.twitter.com/aPAb3uTjxM
— Collin Rees (@collinrees) November 23, 2019
Most protesters left. But many staying behind and security has moved in and some security has more forcefully removed protesters at the Harvard-Yale game. pic.twitter.com/eh7PTm8Eve
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 23, 2019
The controversial action immediately received an outpouring of praise on social media, where supporters called their action “amazing” and “incredible.”
I congratulate & thank @fossilfreeyale & @DivestHarvard & the work of young activists around the globe who are calling for urgent change to the status quo. Harvard and Yale, it’s time to divest. Because when it comes to the further destruction of our planet 🌎 #nobodywins pic.twitter.com/015ZQ64CcI
— Daryl Hannah (@dhlovelife) November 23, 2019
Amazing climate action at Yale-Harvard game. Sit in calling for divestment at both institutions. Game stopped. pic.twitter.com/HEI0nRndp5
— Kelly Levin (@Kelly_Levin_) November 23, 2019
But there was no shortage of those, who thought that mixing sport and political activism was a bad decision.
The more these people protest the more people end up against them
— lizardkingn (@lazardkingn) November 23, 2019
Good Grief 🤦🏼♀️Liberals !!
— Elizabeth Carver ❤️ (@ElizabethMTHC) November 23, 2019
Higher education at its lowest possible level…🤦♂️
— Brian (@YlwHammer17) November 23, 2019
Many criticized the protesters for interrupting the game and spoiling the fun for others, whatever their beliefs were.
Why can’t we just be allowed to enjoy sports? The start of the second half of Saturday’s Harvard-Yale game was delayed by nearly an hour after a number of spectators rushed the field to stage a climate change protest.https://t.co/jRkKGiJqNw
— Frank Jessie (@frankdjessie13) November 23, 2019
— Warrior of Nora Tribe (HZD) (@SapphoMedusa) November 23, 2019
The most disgruntled commenters even began suggesting how to deal with the annoying pitch invaders in those situations.
send out the carts! pic.twitter.com/UnguitjOwc
— Zach O’Shea (@zach_oshea) November 23, 2019
— Kid in the Hall™️ (@Eradicator_NYC) November 23, 2019
Time was, the football would have been played, whether students were on the field or not. pic.twitter.com/K6k5q4dQEF
— Mormonius Onandagus Cumorio Americanus (v 2.0) (@Mormonius2) November 23, 2019
Eventually, the game resumed as the pitch was cleared after about an hour-long delay.
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