Tribal Police Disperse Extinction Rebellion Protest at Burning Man 2023

Tribal Police Disperse Extinction Rebellion Protest at Burning Man 2023


In a dramatic turn of events, the road to the Burning Man festival in Nevada witnessed a clash between climate activists and tribal police.

The incident, which occurred on August 27, 2023, involved officers from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Police Department responding to a blockade set up by around six activists from Seven Circles and Extinction Rebellion.

The protesters had used a trailer to block the road, leading to extensive traffic disruptions and miles-long gridlock.

Confrontation at the Blockade

Video footage captured the tense confrontation between the activists and the tribal police.

The demonstrators, who were attached to the trailer, engaged in clashes with attendees of the festival before the authorities were called to the scene.


Responding to the situation, tribal police officers decided to break through the blockade by driving their vehicle straight through it.

This swift action led to the arrest of the activists, who were visibly emotional during the arrests.

Climate Activists’ Demands and Controversy

The activists were protesting against the Burning Man festival, specifically targeting its use of private jets and single-use plastics.

The protesters carried banners and signs with slogans such as “Ban Private Jets” and “Abolish Capitalism.”

They called for more sustainable practices and criticized what they saw as the commodification of the event and the disconnect between the festival’s stated values and the behavior of some attendees.


Rangers’ Response and Allegations

As the situation unfolded, a tribal officer was recorded ordering a protester to the ground at gunpoint and instructing her to cease resisting arrest.

Another officer could be heard inquiring about the presence of a gun among the activists.

According to a statement from a Guardian journalist, the tribal police had responded to reports of a potential threat to the activists’ safety, with claims that someone in the crowd might intend to harm them.

Responses and Ongoing Discussions

While Extinction Rebellion and Seven Circles did not immediately provide comments to the media, the Seattle branch of Extinction Rebellion tweeted their concerns about the police response and its impact on public safety.

The activists’ demands for more environmentally conscious practices at the festival have sparked discussions about the event’s future and its alignment with the principles of climate action.


The Larger Picture

The clash between the activists and tribal police underscores broader debates about climate activism, systemic change, and the role of events like Burning Man in advocating for sustainable practices.

The activists contend that the festival’s non-political stance contradicts its values, especially as global carbon emissions continue to rise.

This incident prompts reflections on the intersection of environmental activism, social values, and public gatherings in an era of heightened awareness about climate change and its consequences.

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