Four young activists on hunger strike outside the White House have ended their protest. In a tweet, the four announced on video that they will be ending their strike following president Joe Biden’s commitments at COP26. They also said that they will be changing their approach to target Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
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The four activists, Kidus Girma, 26, Ema Govea, 18, Julia Paramo, 24, and Abby Leedy, 20, began their hunger strike on Oct. 20 to pressure the Biden administration to take serious climate action. The strike was physically straining, which forced them to sit on wheelchairs due to a lack of strength. One of the activists, Girma, was hospitalized last week after passing out.
The end to their strike comes a few days after another activist, Paul Campion, 24, announced on Twitter that he was ending his hunger strike after being diagnosed with bradycardia. The condition can be fatal and develops when one’s heart drops to extremely low rates.
In a Twitter post, the activists noted that Biden’s pledge at COP26 to cut fossil fuel emissions by half by 2030 was part of their motivation to stop the strike. However, they promised to continue fighting, with their target being Sen. Manchin and other congress members responsible for stalling climate reforms.
“We are ending our hunger strike to bring the fire to Joe Manchin and other folks in Congress that are more willing to fight for oil and gas billionaires and not for the young people and their communities,” Girma said in the video.
Manchin, the Democratic Senator for West Virginia, has been a stumbling block in the way of climate reforms. Manchin, whose home state relies on fossil fuels, blocked the president’s Clean Electricity Program, which would see fossil fuel operators receive funding to shift to clean energy sources.
Although the activists have ended their strike at the moment, they promised to continue fighting. They have not specified how, but they say their fight will depend on how Biden and other democrats handle the climate agenda.
“Our survival depended on his commitment to climate action. This morning, he promised a 50% decrease in emissions by 2030. Today, we end our strike. But our survival still depends on Joe Biden and other Democrats like him,” the activists said in a tweet.