Final Greenpeace protester arrested after rappelling from Fred Hartman Bridge

KTRK logo
Friday, September 13, 2019
Houston Ship Channel reopened after Greenpeace demonstration
The Coast Guard reopened the Houston Ship Channel after the Greenpeace demonstration.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- The Coast Guard has reopened the Houston Ship Channel after an hours-long Greenpeace USA protest that ended with the demonstrators being arrested.

The final protester was lowered to safety from the Fred Hartman Bridge overnight.

Harris County Precinct 8 deputy constables responded to a crash on the bridge around 6:30 a.m. Thursday. When they arrived, they learned about the Greenpeace protest that was unfolding.

In total, 23 protesters were involved by forming a blockade over the Fred Hartman Bridge ahead of the third 2020 Democratic debate, forcing the closure of the Houston Ship Channel and snarling traffic in the area.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office began taking protesters into custody Thursday evening.

HCSO worked with Houston and Baytown fire departments to rappel down and make contact with protesters hanging from the bridge.

Eleven people rappelled from the bridge. There were also people acting as "spotters" who were located along the top of the bridge to assist them.

The spotters were also taken into custody.

Their actions were a call to leaders to imagine a world beyond fossil fuels and to embrace a transition to renewable energy, the group's leaders say.

Around 4 p.m. Thursday, military personnel arrived at the scene, hoping to bring the blockade to a peaceful end.

WATCH: 23 Greenpeace protesters suspended from the Fred Hartman Bridge

Greenpeace protesters hang from Fred Hartman Bridge

It's unknown what specific charges the protesters could face.

If you're viewing on our ABC13 Houston news app, tap to open in a new window.

HISTORY: What the Port of Houston looked like 50 years ago

In 1964, ABC13 shot this film for a special for the 50th birthday of the Port of Houston.