The protest came after activists gathered at the Capitol on Friday for the Global Climate Strike and coincided with the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, where world leaders were meeting to “discuss a leap in collective national ambition” for climate change.
The demonstrators tweeted as they blocked streets, some of them getting arrested.
“We know that this shutdown will cause massive disruption to people who bear little responsibility for the climate catastrophe we are facing,” the group said on its website. “But we will also cause massive disruption for politicians, huge corporations and the lobbyists who control our government. We need to fundamentally change the power structure of the United States if we want to stop the climate crisis, and shutting down DC is a big step in the right direction.”
Police could be seen at K and 16th Streets NW where a few dozen protesters had placed a pink sailboat in the middle of the intersection, christening it the "Extinction Rebellion."
Shut Down D.C. was live streaming the protest on YouTube showing demonstrators waving flags and holding banners saying “ROAD CLOSED CLIMATE EMERGENCY.”
The group is demanding immediate action on climate change including transitioning to 100% renewable energy production by 2030, protecting and restoring of 50% of the world's land and oceans and honoring the rights of indigenous people's lands.
It was unclear how much disruption the protests are causing. Public transit agencies advised riders to be aware for their morning commutes.
"Amtrak customers using Washington, D.C. (WAS) Union Station tomorrow (9/23) should allow extra time because of planned protests and expected traffic issues," Amtrak tweeted.
The Maryland Department of Transportation also warned of "possible delays" due to the protests.
The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to ABC News that there were 26 arrests made from the protest due to demonstrators blocking traffic.
The protest finished in Farragut Square at approximately 12:30 p.m. While some climate change activists left the park, others gathered around more than a dozen pizza boxes.
Some of the empty boxes were thrown away in trash cans within the park. ABC News contacted the District of Columbia's Department of Public Works, which confirmed that those boxes will not be recycled since they were put into a regular trash can.
ABC News reached out to the group for comment.
"Today's action was about changing the course of our society to a just and sustainable future powered by 100% clean, renewable energy," said Denise Robbins, communications director at CCAN Action Fund. "Such a future will ideally include pizza boxes that are compostable or easily recyclable (in DC, they are not recyclable when soiled with grease)."