For a brief time Monday evening, Kenmore Square’s iconic Citgo sign donned a different message above Boston.
A 42-foot banner, which read “Climate Justice Now,” was unfurled and hoisted up over the popular sign — the unauthorized work of environmental activists from the group Extinction Rebellion — just as the Red Sox took on the Tampa Bay Rays at nearby Fenway Park.
But, shortly after the banner rose, winds knocked it loose and tore it, prompting the group to remove it, Matthew Kearney, a spokesperson for the activists, told The Boston Globe. The Citgo sign was not damaged, he said.
According to Boston police, officers were called to investigate the scene at 660 Beacon St. — an active construction site — after receiving multiple 911 calls reporting a group of people on the roof of the building.
Police were told the group, which could be seen at the base of the Citgo sign when officers arrived, raised the banner for about 20 minutes before it was taken down, officials said in a statement.
Officers requested additional assistance to make certain everyone on the roof descended safely, police said.
According to officials, eight men were arrested and charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace: James Comiskey, 30, of Roxbury; Jason Rudokas, 43, of Arlington; Allen McGonagill, 30, of Somerville; Seward Ogden, 60, of Putnam, Vermont; Thomas Davis, 35, of Cambridge; Alexander Chambers, 21, of Boylston; William Livernois, 24, of Newnan, Georgia; and Johannes Vulto, 60, of Brookline.
Additionally, two women — a 57-year-old Putney, Vermont, resident and a 56-year-old Brooklyn, New York, resident — were summoned to court on the same charges.
Authorities said Tuesday the suspects were expected to be arraigned in Roxbury District Court.
According to Kearney, the protest was intended to call the city’s attention to climate issues.
A press release announcing the action said Extinction Rebellion, an international group with a Boston chapter, works to combat the “climate catastrophe” and seeks a rapid shift away from fossil fuels and toward “fully sustainable, zero-emission sources.”
The call for climate justice highlights the need to counteract the disproportionate impact climate change will have on “socially disadvantaged communities,” the group said.
Kearney, in speaking to the Globe, criticized Mayor Marty Walsh for taking “slim to no action” on climate issues. Efforts to combat and lessen the ramifications of climate change need to begin with Black and brown communities that are slated to be “on the front lines of the climate catastrophe,” he told the newspaper.
“We demand a rapid transition to a clean economy that prioritizes climate justice and establishes remediation for Indigenous, Black, and (people of color) communities that will be hit the hardest by the climate crisis,” Allen McGonagill, a lead organizer of Monday’s protest, said in a statement. “The actions we take on climate in the next 5 years will determine the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.”
Extinction Rebellion’s Boston and Vermont chapters worked together on the banner, Kearney told the Globe. The volunteer-driven group uses non-violent, civil disobedience to highlight the planet’s climate problems and call for action, the press release said.
“The Citgo sign could use a makeover,” Kearney said in the release. “At this moment of heightened racial awareness, we want to make people think hard about what climate justice means. The Boston skyline matches our society’s ultimate values if it promotes climate justice rather than fossil fuels. If people give that some thought, we think they’ll agree.”
Kearney could not immediately tell the Globe Monday how the group accessed the roof of the building where the sign sits, owned by Related Beal. A spokesman for the owner had no comment for the newspaper that night.
Get Boston.com's browser alerts:
Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.Turn on notifications