NEW YORK -- Two environmental protesters dangled from a rooftop 10 stories
above Lexington Avenue on Thursday and unfurled a banner before authorities
pulled them up and took them into custody.
Hilary Hosta, 32, and Tim Keating, 42, both professional climbers volunteering
for the Rainforest Action Network, rappelled from the roof of the YWCA building
across from Citigroup's headquarters at about 11:30 a.m.
The charges were not immediately determined, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
said criminal trespassing was an option.
The demonstration caused a brief traffic jam during lunch hour in midtown
Manhattan, as authorities cordoned off the block and dozens of police officers
and firefighters responded.
Hosta and Keating displayed their banner _ which read "Forest Destruction and
Global Warming? We're banking on it! Citi: Ethically Bankrupt" _ for several
minutes before it was pulled into a window.
Police lowered safety lines to a reluctant Hosta and Keating and hoisted them to
the roof while a small crowd looked on.
"It's a peaceful protest, nonviolent civil disobedience in the tradition of
Ghandi and Martin Luther King," said group spokeswoman Ilyse Hogue.
In its literature, the group accuses Citigroup of investing in logging, mining
and oil exploration projects without "meaningful environmental standards of any
Citigroup spokeswoman Christina Pretto said the company works with clients to
"review carefully the environmental and social aspects of the projects and
investments on which we advise and provide financing assistance."
Police said five protesters were arrested. The other three were support people
who had been on the roof with Keating and Hosta, Hogue said.
A woman who answered the phone at the YWCA declined to give her name but said
the group did not have permission for the demonstration. Hogue said the
protesters had paid for day passes to the YWCA.