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Sally Field arrested at Jane Fonda’s climate protest

Joe Sommerlad
Sally Field and Jane Fonda demonstrate on the steps of Capitol Hill during the latest "Fire Drill Friday" climate change protest in Washington on 13 December 2019: John Lamparski/Getty

Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field, 73, has become the latest Hollywood star to get herself arrested at Jane Fonda’s weekly climate change protests in Washington, DC.

Field, best known from her work in films like Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Steel Magnolias (1989), Mrs Doubtfire (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994), joins the likes of Rosanna Arquette, Catherine Keener, Diane Lane and Ted Danson in ending up in handcuffs as a result of Fonda’s lively environmental demonstrations.

The protests are known as Fire Drill Fridays and were originally inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement, with Fonda – 81 herself – hoping to help sound the alarm over what she calls the “climate emergency” and strong-arm the US government into taking action against carbon emissions and other pollutants.

The organiser said the purpose of this latest demonstration was to draw attention to the impact of global warming on American workers.

“Today we’re going to focus on jobs, communities, and a just transition, a critical part of the fight for new green jobs,” she said.

“Many people don’t know what we mean by just transitions – the climate emergency requires us to rapidly transition transform our energy system and key industrial sectors in ways that protect workers and impacted communities.”

Field took to the stage on Friday beneath an umbrella as steady rain fell on Capitol Hill, just as the House Judiciary Committee was voting through twin articles of impeachment against embattled US president Donald Trump nearby.

“I come with my heart and my voice,” she told her audience. ”I am a mother, I am a grandmother. The time is now. We cannot sit back in our comfort zones, on our couches, and wonder, ‘What can we do?’

“We can get out. We can do something. In the rain. Whatever it takes,” she said. “I, like everyone else, feel this is such a big problem – how can we ever accomplish anything? But we can. It is being done. In other countries it is being done – in Norway, in Germany, in France, it’s being done.”

She went on to cite the example of North Carolina textile union activist Crystal Lee Sutton, whom she played a character based on in the 1979 drama Norma Rae, as inspiration for a new generation.

Shortly after concluding her impromptu address, Field was led away by police in plastic zip-tie shackles to loud cheers of support and applause from the crowd, reportedly one of 26 people picked up during the tenth instalment of Fonda’s protests.

A policeman was forced to carry her designer handbag at his side as they led the star away, Field visibly – and very endearingly – thrilled by her act of civil disobedience and not at all flustered by the $50 (£37.50) fine she is set to incur.