10 things to know about arrests of Greenpeace protesters, SWAT team who rescued them

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Thirty-one people are facing charges in connection to the demonstration that shut down the Fred Hartman Bridge and The Houston Ship Channel for hours on Thursday.

The 11 demonstrators with Greenpeace, dangling from the Fred Hartman Bridge had planned to stay suspended from the bridge for 24 hours. But late Thursday afternoon, Harris County SWAT deputies moved in and began arresting them. 

Here are 10 keys things you should know:

1.) The deputies had done a lot of rappelling training in the past but this was the first time that had to do a rescue over a bridge. 

2.) Once they arrived, the deputies say they could tell by the setup, the protesters knew exactly what they were doing so they had to craft a plan quickly.

3.) They worked in pairs, fighting 30 mph winds that were pushing them after they rappelled off the side of the bridge, descending 80 feet below to the protesters.

4.) Initially, they didn’t know how the protesters would react but most complied with their demands and were taken into custody without incident.

5.) A spokesperson with the Port of Houston saif the protest had no economic impact on the port.

6.) The protestors are due in court Monday.

7.) The protesters are charged with impairing/interrupting critical infrastructure among other things. It’s a unique charge, the first time it will be utilized in Texas. 

8.) The demonstrators were protesting fossil fuels.

9.) Harris County SWAT received assistance from the Houston Fire Department and the Baytown Fire Department.

10.) It took anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes to bring each protester to safety. 

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