Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Nearly two dozen activists with Greenpeace dangled themselves from a bridge in Houston Thursday -- disrupting both vehicle and boat traffic -- ahead of the third Democratic presidential debate.
Twenty-three activists with Greenpeace USA formed a blockade along the busy Houston Ship Channel by rappelling from the Fred Hartman Bridge. The stunt prevented ships carrying gas and oil products from crossing beneath.
The activists planned to hang there for 24 hours to call attention to fossil fuels and renewable energy among federal lawmakers, and 10 Democratic candidates in Houston for the third primary debate Thursday evening.
"We challenge every candidate on stage tonight to promise to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable if they become president," the environmental group tweeted.
The Houston Ship Channel is one of the busiest commercial waterways in the United States, which gives ships access between the Port of Houston and the Gulf of Mexico.
Authorities said they decided not force the demonstrators back onto the bridge, out of concern for their safety.
Once the group finishes the protest, the Galveston County Sheriff's Office said they will face numerous offenses -- including obstructing a roadway and obstructing a waterway. They could also face federal charges.
Vehicle traffic on the bridge was reduced to two lanes and ship traffic was blocked over a half-mile stretch of the channel.