The sculpture commemorates Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th, one of the first Civil War regiments of African Americans enlisted in the North, Guthrie said.
The protester wrote “Honor Them” in red paint under a list of the soldiers who were killed, wounded, captured or missing after a battle in 1863, according to Guthrie, who said the protester was arrested.
“We can confirm that no works of art were harmed,” Guthrie said. “Our staff is working hard to clean the wall in the hopes of reopening the gallery on Wednesday.”
A statement from Declare Emergency identified the protester as Geor Green, and the group released video and a photo of the action.
Declare Emergency also released what it said was a statement from Green. The statement said that “climate breakdown means collapsing food markets so there will be even more struggle, especially in our most impoverished families, which are over-represented by Biracial people and people of color.”
“I can’t sit by and do nothing,” the statement said. “I wrote the words ‘Honor Them’ to reach out to anyone who will listen to say, ‘Please come and help the Declare Emergency campaign.”
In a statement, Declare Emergency said it “fights to stop climate catastrophe using strict nonviolent civil disobedience.”
“We act to protect future generations,” the statement said. “We honor the Massachusetts 54th and invite everyone to join us in committing acts of strictly nonviolent civil disobedience to demand that Joe Biden declare a climate emergency and use his emergency powers to do everything possible to stop the global death project of extremist capitalism.”
Tuesday’s incident was at least the third involving protesters allegedly affiliated with Declare Emergency in D.C. this year.
In August, three protesters who said they were affiliated with Declare Emergency were arrested at the National Museum of Natural History after one glued themselves to a sign and others climbed into an exhibit. That incident followed another at the National Gallery in April during which protesters smeared paint on a case that housed an Edgar Degas sculpture.