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As Earth warms, California gets federal funding to train climate-ready workforce

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As Earth warms, California gets federal funding to train climate-ready workforce

California is among nine U.S. states and territories selected to receive $60 million in federal funding as part of a significant effort to build a nationwide climate-ready workforce.

The investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will support job development efforts in coastal and Great Lakes communities around the country, including $9.5 million to establish the Los Angeles County Climate Ready Employment Council at Long Beach City College.

The LBCC program will help develop training, internship and job placement services for occupations in the water and solar sectors that are demanding workers, officials said. Similar programs were announced Tuesday in American Samoa, Alaska, Washington, Texas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The investment in public, private and educational organizations “will train workers from around our coasts and help them find good-paying jobs that strengthen climate resilience and local economies,” read a statement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Climate change accelerates the need for a new generation of skilled workers who can help communities address a wide range of climate impacts including sea level rise, flooding, water quality issues and the need for solutions such as renewable energy.”

Aggressive and impactful reporting on climate change, the environment, health and science.

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The program is funded by President Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act and includes $50 million in direct awards and $10 million in technical assistance to support the grantees. Federal officials told reporters they received 95 applications for the program requesting a total of $615 million in funding — or more than 10 times the amount available.

“Even with this generational investment that’s being made, we think it shows the need and the demand in communities nationwide for programs like this,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, which is helping to manage the initiative.

The program arrives at a key moment for the country, which is continuing to experience worsening climate impacts such as extreme wildfires, floods, heat and storms. Las Vegas, Phoenix and Albuquerque are currently sweltering amid a record-breaking heat wave while portions of Florida are bracing to receive a month’s worth of rain in just a few days.

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California has set ambitious targets for adapting to climate change, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, but to get there will require significant overhauls of its transportation and energy sectors, as well as upgrades and investments in manufacturing and infrastructure.

A 2021 study on California’s clean energy transition found that the investments needed to meet and strengthen the state’s goals could create 1 million new jobs through 2030. About 14% of those jobs are related to solar, 5% to onshore wind and 4% to wastewater, among other sectors.

Such efforts are urgently needed: In the 1980s, the U.S. averaged a billion-dollar weather disaster every four months, according to NOAA. Today, such events happen once every three weeks.

Workers walk beneath a row of giant wind turbine blades.

Wind turbine blades for South Fork Wind, an offshore wind farm, are stored at State Pier in New London, Conn., in December 2023.

(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

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“It’s a stark reminder of the escalating risks we’re up against,” said Jainey Bavishi, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and a deputy NOAA administrator. “The demand for adaptation and resilience solutions is increasing, and with that comes an increasing demand for a climate-ready workforce that’s trained to help communities and businesses prepare for the effects of climate change.”

Bavishi noted that since 2018, the number of city- and state-level climate adaptation plans have risen by 32%, “but translating those into action fairly and effectively is proving to be tougher.” One barrier is the lack of a diverse skilled workforce, she said.

What’s more, the Fifth National Climate Change Assessment, released in November, underscored the ways in which historically underserved communities, communities of color, and tribal and indigenous communities face disproportionate risks and impacts from climate change. The same communities are often on the sidelines of the labor market as well.

The workforce initiative is intentionally reaching out to those communities with the training opportunities, Raimondo told reporters Tuesday. Support services — such as child care and transportation — are components of the initiative that will help ensure that “folks can finish the training, graduate and actually get high quality, good paying jobs.”

“We have to be clear-eyed about the need to prepare workers with skills for the jobs and connections to real jobs, and that’s what this initiative is designed to do,” she said.

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The $9.5 million program at Long Beach City College represents the second-largest investment, following only the Greater Boston Coastal Resilience Jobs Alliance in Massachusetts, which will receive $9.8 million for a similar endeavor.

LBCC will serve as the “backbone” for the establishment of the Los Angeles County Climate Ready Employment Council — an expansive project that will convene parties from the public, private, nonprofit, tribal and educational spheres to improve the county’s climate resiliency workforce and develop training and job placement in all sectors across the county, college officials said.

“Although climate change repercussions may be inevitable, we still hold the power to lessen the severity of the outcomes by changing both our collective behavior and infrastructure,” read a statement from LBCC superintendent-president Mike Muñoz. “Our students will be at the forefront of developing and implementing innovative solutions that are essential for sustaining our planet’s health and ensuring a resilient future for all.”

LBCC this week also announced a $750,000 grant from the California Municipal Utilities Assn.’s water, wastewater and energy workforce development program. Both grants will “address the unique needs of those communities most disproportionately impacted by climate change and will connect underserved and under-resourced workers with training and job placement in climate-resilient careers,” school officials said.

The federal program will begin six to nine months after the funds are received, according to the college. NOAA officials said they aim to disperse all funds to awardees by Aug. 1.

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The Biden administration has already created more than 270,000 clean energy jobs across the country, but officials underscored that there is still more work to be done.

“The impacts of the climate crisis are diverse, and the skills needed to empower workers and communities are also diverse,” Raimondo said. “If we’re going to ensure that American workers can take advantage of the jobs that we’re creating by tackling climate change, then we have to be proactive about training folks so they have the skills they need to get the jobs that are available.”

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Biden's address to the nation: 'I revere this office, but I love my country more'

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Biden's address to the nation: 'I revere this office, but I love my country more'

Saying, “I revere this office, but I love my country more,” President Biden formally announced the end of his bid for a second term in office with a nationally televised address from the White House on Wednesday evening.

Biden said that while his record was strong, he felt compelled to unite the Democratic Party and to throw his support behind Vice President Kamala Harris.

“I believe my record as president — my leadership in the world, my vision for America’s future — all merited a second term,” Biden said. “But nothing can come in the way of saving our democracy. That includes personal ambition.

“So I decided the best way forward is to pass the torch to a new generation. It’s the best way to unite our nation.”

Placing himself at the end of a long chain of American leaders, Biden mentioned presidents from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Twice he noted that he was speaking from behind the Resolute Desk — a gift of Britain’s Queen Victoria that has been used by nearly every president since the 1880s.

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Biden’s family watched from just off camera, while hundreds of administration staff members attended a White House viewing party. Harris watched the address in Houston, where she was staying overnight after visiting the city’s emergency operations center for a briefing on recovery efforts following Hurricane Beryl.

Although the 11-minute speech did not mention Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, implicit throughout was the threat Biden contends his opponent poses. (That claim stems largely from Trump’s attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden.)

“The defense of democracy, which is at stake, is more important than a title,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s about you … your families, your futures. It’s about ‘we the people.’ We can never forget that and I never have.”

Biden gave a long list of his accomplishments, saying he had pulled the country out of “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression” — caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — and signed laws that strengthened gun regulations and capped the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens.

He pledged to keep working hard in his final six months in office, saying he hoped to end the war in Gaza and bring home hostages held by Hamas; to strengthen NATO, in support of Ukraine and other nations, and to bring reforms to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Toward the end of his remarks, he endorsed Harris. “She’s experienced. She’s tough. She’s capable,“ Biden said. “She’s been an incredible partner to me and the leader for our country.”

At one point he struck a highly personal note.

“Nowhere else on Earth could a kid with a stutter, from modest beginnings … one day sit behind the Resolute Desk, in the Oval Office, as president of the United States. Here I am,” he said. “That’s what’s so special about America. We’re a nation of promise and possibilities, of dreamers and doers, of ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things.”

Only last week, Biden had scoffed at the notion he would leave the race. Speaking at the NAACP’s national convention in Las Vegas, he called out to the audience: “So let me ask you, are you all in?” The loud response: “All in!” To which Biden retorted: “Because I’m all in!”

But just a day later, on July 17, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) joined those calling on Biden to step aside, saying “it is time to pass the torch” to new leaders in the Democratic Party. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) also reportedly informed Biden that she thought he could not win the Nov. 5 election.

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Political observers said the views of the two Californians were crucial to Biden’s decision, announced Sunday, to drop out of his rematch with Trump. Biden had been in Rehoboth Beach, Del., recovering from COVID-19 since last Thursday when he made the decision to withdraw.

He quickly threw his support behind Harris, saying that picking her as his running mate in 2020 was “the best decision I’ve made.” He added: “It’s time to come together and beat Trump.”

Democratic officials and rank-and-file members quickly coalesced around the vice president, making her the all-but-certain presidential nominee when the party holds its convention in Chicago, starting Aug. 19.

Harris also got good news from her campaign treasurer: She raised $81 million in the 24 hours after Biden announced that he would not seek another term — the largest campaign haul over that period in history.

The closest parallel to Biden’s speech in modern times came more than half a century ago, when President Lyndon B. Johnson used a televised address from the White House to say that he would not seek a second full term in the White House.

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Johnson spent all but the waning moments of a nearly 41-minute address, given in March 1968, to discuss America’s struggles in the Vietnam War, reiterating his offer to the North Vietnamese to begin peace talks.

He said that the nation had become too divided over the war in Southeast Asia. Given the momentous decisions he faced overseeing the war and peace talks, Johnson said, “I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office — the presidency of your country.”

“Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president,” Johnson concluded.

By stepping back, Johnson opened the door to a hard-fought contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Robert F. Kennedy appeared in a strong position to be the nominee after winning the California primary in June.

But Kennedy was assassinated at the end of his victory party in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s vice president, went on to win the nomination. But in the fall, he lost a close election to the Republican nominee, Richard M. Nixon.

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‘Coup’ and ‘Cover-Up’: How the G.O.P. Is Reacting to the Harris Candidacy

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‘Coup’ and ‘Cover-Up’: How the G.O.P. Is Reacting to the Harris Candidacy

‘Unfit to serve’

‘Best interest’

‘Proof of life’

‘Far Left Democrats’

‘Resign’

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‘Less competent’

‘Coup’

‘Largest political cover-up’

‘25th Amendment’

‘Rigging’

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‘Where is Joe Biden?’

‘Border Czar’

‘Gaslighting and lying to each of us’

‘Wood chipper to democracy’

‘Who is running the show?’

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‘All the best’

While elected Democrats have been quick to rally around Vice President Kamala Harris after President Biden’s announcement that he would leave the 2024 presidential race, a vast majority of prominent Republicans have treated the development with suspicion or scorn.

A New York Times analysis of statements by Republican senators, representatives and governors found that their reactions to Ms. Harris’s presumptive candidacy and Mr. Biden’s withdrawal clustered around several themes, including the opinions that Mr. Biden must resign or that the events of the past few days amounted to election subversion or a bloodless coup. Recent polling suggests nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe Mr. Biden’s decision to step aside was the right one.

Several officials also suggested that Mr. Biden — who had been in Delaware recovering from Covid-19 but returned to the White House on Tuesday — had gone missing. A greater number made statements attacking Ms. Harris’s record, while a small handful posted positive or supportive comments. Emphasis in these quotations was added by The Times to highlight common themes in the statements.

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65 called Mr. Biden’s withdrawal a coup or said it amounted to election interference.

‘This is a coup of a puppet regime.’

‘While President Trump took a bullet for our democracy, the progressive democrats are taking a wood chipper to democracy by shredding the will of 14 million primary voters.’

‘Now the Democrats are rigging their *own* elections.’

These statements have tended to argue that Mr. Biden’s decision to end his candidacy was not his own, was not democratic or both. Many have mocked Democrats for positioning themselves as “defenders of democracy” in contrast to Republicans, following attempts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

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Some of this language began to bubble up among Republicans even before Mr. Biden announced that he would drop out. During the Republican National Convention last week, Chris LaCivita, a top adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, described the pressure on Mr. Biden to withdraw as an “attempted coup.”

97 said that Mr. Biden must resign or be ousted, or that he is unfit for office.

‘Today I’m demanding the Biden Harris cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment. If Biden isn’t capable of being a candidate, he’s not capable of being President.’

‘If Joe Biden is unable to serve another term, then he must resign right now. If he’s unfit to campaign, he should not have the nuclear codes — it’s that simple.’

‘If Joe Biden is unfit to run for re-election then he’s unfit to serve the remainder of his term.’

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Statements along these lines have primarily argued that if Mr. Biden is not able to run for a second term, then he is unfit to continue to serve now. Many said should step down from the presidency. Some have gone further, suggesting that the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Mr. Biden from office.

76 speculated about a high-level conspiracy in the White House about the condition of Mr. Biden’s health.

‘Kamala Harris was complicit in a massive coverup to hide and deny the fact that Joe Biden was not capable of discharging the duties of the office.’

‘The American people should fire every single politician that has been gaslighting and lying to each of us about Biden’s capability to lead our Nation. Kamala Harris is as culpable as Biden’s senior staff and family in this scheme to subvert democracy.’

‘Democrats have been complicit in the largest political cover-up in history.’

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These comments have, without providing evidence, accused Ms. Harris and other top Democrats of a cover-up to hide the state of Mr. Biden’s physical and mental fitness.

18 asked, ‘Where’s Biden?’ or implied that the president had gone missing.

‘Where is Joe Biden? Who is running the show?

‘Americans are asking: Where is Joe Biden?

‘For the third time today, I’m asking Joe Biden to provide the American people with proof of life.’

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Mr. Biden was self-isolating with Covid-19 at his family’s Delaware beach house when he made the announcement that he would step aside from the 2024 presidential race. These comments drew attention to his lack of recent public appearances, in some cases even calling for a demonstration that Mr. Biden was still alive. Mr. Biden returned to Washington Tuesday afternoon and is set to give a televised address this evening.

143 made other statements, mostly attacking Ms. Harris’s record.

‘ “Border Czar” Harris has NOT done her job to secure the border.’

‘Kamala Harris leads the Far Left Democrats’ pro-crime, anti-victim agenda.’

‘Cackling Kamala is widely considered less competent than dementia-impaired Joe Biden.’

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Dozens of Republican officials made more typically political statements, including criticizing Ms. Harris as a candidate. One common line of attack, positing that Ms. Harris failed as a “border czar,” is misleading. (Some Republican candidates have already begun to run ads like this one, drawing attention to some of the more liberal positions Ms. Harris has taken in the past, particularly during her failed 2020 presidential primary campaign.)

And 9 made positive or supportive comments about Mr. Biden’s decision.

‘Fran and I wish President Biden and the First Lady all the best as he serves out the remainder of his term and in the years ahead.’

‘I understand and respect President Biden’s decision not to seek reelection. While we have political differences, I appreciate his lifelong service to our nation, which he dearly loves.’

‘I respect President Biden’s decision to act in the best interest of the country by stepping aside in the 2024 presidential election.’

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A few Republican officials wrote kindly about their relationships with Mr. Biden or sent him well wishes.

In the table below, see which Republican elected officials made which types of statements, as of Tuesday night.

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Anti-Israel agitators descend on DC ahead of Israeli PM Netanyahu's address to Congress

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Anti-Israel agitators descend on DC ahead of Israeli PM Netanyahu's address to Congress

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Anti-Israel demonstrators descended on Washington, D.C., on Wednesday ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress. 

One demonstrator, whose face was covered, was spotted by Fox News carrying what appeared to be the flag of the terrorist group Hamas. 

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Fox News estimates that a few hundred protesters had gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue and 3rd Street, outside the Gallery of Art. They have a stage set up in front of the Capitol building and are currently chanting.

The protest organizers include Answer Coalition and Code Pink. There have been numerous speakers from various organizations, including one from the Party for Socialism and Liberation. 

HARRIS BOYCOTTS NETANYAHU, SNUBS ISRAELI LEADER’S WARTIME ADDRESS TO GIVE SORORITY SPEECH

One anti-Israel demonstrator in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday was spotted carrying the Hamas flag.  (Fox News/ Griff Jenkins)

Fox News crews witnessed numerous signs with Netanyahu’s face, labeling him a “Wanted War Criminal.” 

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Even inside Capitol Hill, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., held up a sign that said “war criminal” while listening to Netanyahu’s speech. 

Rashida Tlaib holding up a sign that says war criminal

Rep. Rashiada Tlaib, D-Mich., holds up a sign that says war criminal during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech.  (CSPAN)

Other slogans from protesters on signs included, “Stop the Genocide,” “Stop arming Israel,” and “End all US Aid.” 

Protesters holding up signs

Washington, D.C> protesters holding up anti-Israel signs.  (Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

The crowds have chanted “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea…,” an antisemitic phrase that calls for the elimination of the state of Israel. 

Anti-Israel protests in DC

Anti-Israel protesters have gathered in Washington, D.C., ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress.  (Fox News)

The speakers later concluded and the crowd of attendees started walking up Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Netanyahu protesters holding up an effigy

(Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

Protesters clashing with police

U.S. Capitol Police officers clash with anti-Israel demonstrators, on the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024.  (Reuters//Umit Bektas))

Protesters waving flags

Anti-Israel protesters march near the US Capitol as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Photo by ANDREW THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images) (Andrew Thomas/AFP via Getty Images))

Police formed a blockade on the corner of Constitution and Louisiana Avenue, and demonstrators released red and green powder into the air. 

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Police remove DC Anti-Israel protesters blocking traffic

DC Metropolitan Police clear demonstrators from blocking traffic, Wednesday, July 24, 2024, in Washington, ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit at the U.S. Capitol.  (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Some protesters yelled at the police line, “You’re a b—-.” Fox News witnessed pepper spray being used at one point. 

U.S. Capitol Police said six people were arrested after disrupting the joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday afternoon.

Police using pepper spray on protesters

Police use pepper spray as anti-Israel demonstrators as they gather on the day of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024. (REUTERS/Nathan Howard) (Reuters/Nathan Howard)

“All of them were immediately removed from the Gallery and arrested,” Capitol Police said in a post on X. “Disrupting the Congress and demonstrating in the Congressional Buildings is against the law.”

Capitol Police originally said five people had been arrested, but later updated it, saying, “Our officers just reported that the final number of arrests in the House Galleries was a total of six people for D.C. Code §10-503.16(b)(2), Unlawful Conduct.”

Line of anti-Israel demonstrators in DC street

Demonstrators blocking traffic on Independence Ave., near the National Mall ahead of a scheduled visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US Capitol, Wednesday, July 24, 2024, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Earlier, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers were seen clearing anti-Israel protesters who were blocking traffic in the nation’s capital on Wednesday. 

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Police pepper spraying protesters

U.S. Capitol Police officers use pepper spray on anti-Israel demonstrators, on the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas) (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Police have taken people into custody near the U.S. Capitol, the Associated Press reported. 

DC officers confront anti-Israel protesters blocking street

DC police begin to clear demonstrators from blocking traffic on Independence Ave., near the National Mall, Wednesday, July 24, 2024, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A handful of people were led away by officers, while others chanted for them to be released.

Protesters washing pepper spray out of eyes

An anti-Israel protester has his eyes washed after police used pepper spray during anti-Israel demonstrations as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024.  (Reuters/Nathan Howard)

More than 1,000 people gathered Wednesday morning on Pennsylvania Avenue within sight of the Capitol building, the AP reported. 

Anna Paulina Luna, Rashida Tlaib

At one point Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., was seen speaking with Tlaib. (Getty Images)

A large group of protesters marched toward the Capitol after blocking a nearby intersection and calling for a “student intifada.” 

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Protesters burning effigy of Netanyahu and an American flag

Anti-Israel demonstrators burn a U.S. flag and an effigy depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the day of Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard (Reuters/Nathan Howard)

“Shut it down!” they repeatedly chanted.

Protesters burning American flag

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators burn a U.S. flag, on the day of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024.  (Reuters/Nathan Howard)

Pro-Palestinian-demonstrators burning effigy of Netanyahu

Anti-Israel demonstrators burn an effigy depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the day of Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024.  (REUTERS/Nathan Howard)

“Bibi, Bibi, We’re not done! The intifada has just begun!” demonstrators shouted, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.

Just after 3 p.m., the U.S. Park Police said on social media that a “crowd in Columbus Circle is engaged in criminal activity and confronting law enforcement on scene. USPP is attempting to deescalate and contact the event organizer for help.”

Around 15 minutes later, the Park Police advised that the Columbus Circle protest permit had been revoked, adding “Please leave the area at this time.”

Park Police said just after 4 p.m. that a crowd remained at Columbus Circle, again advising on social media for protesters to disperse. 

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Fox News’ Meghan Tome and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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