3 in custody after climate protest climb closes Montreals Jacques-Cartier Bridge to traffic – CBC.ca

3 in custody after climate protest climb closes Montreal\s Jacques-Cartier Bridge to traffic - CBC.ca
Extinction Rebellion protesters block traffic on busy bridges across Canada
Three environmental activists surrendered and were taken into custody after climbing Montreal's Jacques-Cartier Bridge in a protest Tuesday morning that prompted provincial police to close the structure off to traffic.

The protesters, two women and a man with Extinction Rebellion Québec, had begun climbing the bridge before sunrise, and surrendered just after 8 a.m. ET. Traffic was moving again in both directions by 8:40 a.m.

“Together, we will peacefully occupy the centres of power and shut them down until governments act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency,” the U.K. website says, noting that the international and decentralized nature of the movement means there may be protests taking place around the world that they “do not yet know about.”

What is Extinction Rebellion and what does it want?

"You can arrest people, but it won't change the problem of climate change," said Louis Ramirez, a spokesperson for the environmentalist group. 

It wants the U.K. government to declare a “climate and ecological emergency;” cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025; and create a citizens’ assembly — run by NGOs with independent oversight — that can lead policymakers on decisions about “climate and ecological justice.”

Video: Extinction Rebellion movement aims to paralyse major cities around the world

"The science is now dead clear, and what we're now seeing is lives are in danger. Hundreds of millions of them."

The group said achieving "climate justice" will require continued, massive political action and so far, the hundreds of thousands of people who have mobilized to protest climate change in Quebec are being ignored.

Video: Climate activists deliver 1000 sapplings to UK Parliament | AFP

"Joining thousands of rebels across the globe in a week of direct actions, a team of climbers from the Extinction Rebellion in Quebec have scaled the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and opted to redecorate the structure," the group said in a statement.

According to the website, the movement kicked off in October, 2018, when protesters in London, U.K. gathered to “announce a Declaration of Rebellion” against the British government. They only expected maybe 200 people — but 1,500 wound up attending.

As of about 7:30 a.m., images captured at the scene showed three people unfurling a banner while emergency crews monitored the situation within arm's reach of the protesters. 

One of the three protesters made a live video broadcast on Facebook from the top of the bridge, saying the aim of the action was to "disrupt the social order" so authorities will listen.

Who are Extinction Rebellion? A look at climate change activists protesting globally

Down below, a handful of protesters gathered on the bridge's bicycle and pedestrian path to hold signs and chant support for the climbers.

Blocking bridges and unfurling banners, many major cities around the world — including several Canadian metropolises — woke up to headlines about a worldwide climate protest called Extinction Rebellion.

Louise Desrosiers, a spokesperson for Montreal's fire department, said firefighters are "always ready for these types of interventions." 

The protesters were calm but had no intention of leaving the bridge, Desrosiers said. Rescuers remained near the protesters until police could step in, she said.

Ms. Bibbing said she and and other protesters on the bridge wanted to jar passing motorists out of their everyday routine, not target individuals for their carbon footprints, a tactic she said has caused a lot of confusion about how to tackle this global issue. Political – not personal – changes are needed to bring about crucial systemic changes, she added.

Provincial police spokesperson Sgt. Claude Denis said the first 911 call came in at around 5:45 a.m. First, one traffic lane was closed. The rest of the bridge was shut shortly thereafter. 

We need to be dealing on the municipal, provincial, federal and international level if were going to get any action, she said mid-morning, as rain fell on about 150 fellow protesters expected to camp out on the bridge into the night. We all know 100 companies in the world are responsible for 70 per cent of our carbon emissions.

Police worked with the fire department to try to gain control of the situation as quickly as possible without injuries, he said.

In Halifax, police moved in to end a demonstration at the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge after about four hours. They arrested 18 people on the artery linking the city to nearby Dartmouth. Early in the day, police said fewer than a hundred protesters, many of them waving flags and signs, had gathered near the toll plaza on the Dartmouth side.

What the arrested protesters will be charged with, if anything, was not confirmed by police. Police say the protesters will be interrogated during the day.

 A protest was planned in Montreal on Monday to coincide with others across Canada and around the world, but it was postponed due to rain.

Extinction Rebellion has been calling for protesters to block bridges and disrupt traffic. On Monday, they blocked bridges in cities such as Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton, Kitchener, Ont., Victoria and Vancouver, leading to dozens of arrests. Protests were also held around the world.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.

TORONTO — Climate change activists Extinction Rebellion have organized a series of protests to block busy bridges to traffic across Canada.

People sporting the hourglass logo of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion blocked traffic on spans in Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. More than a dozen protesters were arrested in both Toronto and Halifax as police cleared roadways.

The environmental campaigners, known as XR, seek to draw attention to the climate emergency and want to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025.

The group attached Extinction Rebellion's logo — a large, green hourglass-like shape — to the side of the bridge, making it visible to drivers on the Don Valley Parkway below. Marching onto the bridge, the group carried large block letter signs saying "Act now."

No arrests as climate protest blocks commuters on Edmonton bridge

It plans to shut down some of Canadas busiest bridges on Monday, in line with protests around the world; including the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge over Halifax Harbour, the Burrard Street bridge in Vancouver and the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, by having protesters lie down or sit in traffic lanes, according to The Canadian Press.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

Halifaxs Macdonald Bridge was closed to vehicle, pedestrian and bike traffic for much of Monday morning as fewer than 100 XR members gathered for a protest, CTV News Atlantic reports.

"We're very disappointed that you're not taking the climate emergency seriously … we're really disappointed with all political parties that we had to do this."

The demonstration forced many commuters to take alternate routes to work and fueled congestion on main arteries throughout Halifax and Dartmouth.

Irene Alatzakis, co-lead of outreach and communities for Extinction Rebellion, said the group is organizing in 60 cities around the world to "call attention to the climate crisis.

Video: Activists have a right to protest, not a right to stop people living

Police initally said they arrested 14 protesters under the Protection of Property Act for failing to leave the premises after being ordered to do so. They later corrected that number to 18 arrests.

Extinction Rebellion has already targeted a bridge in Nova Scotia and plans to protest in Vancouver, too. Protests are also scheduled for London, Paris, Berlin and New York.

Video: Activists have a right to protest, not a right to stop people living

The bridge was closed to traffic just before the protesters arrived on scene and police blocked their access to the bridge.

However, that move was not without controversy, with some pointing out the city is spending billions to rebuild the aging eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway.

About 40,000 vehicles use the Macdonald bridge daily along with about 1,200 people who bike or walk across the span.

Last week, Toronto city council unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency, joining hundreds of other municipalities around the world who have done the same.

In Toronto, dozens of protestors shut the Prince Edward Viaduct connecting a main road in the east of the city to downtown Toronto. The demonstration, which was due to finish at 10 a.m. ET, still had protesters in place by 11.30 a.m.

Toronto police tried to divert drivers from the area. Cyclists could still use the bridge's bike lanes, while TTC subway service was also unaffected.

Kevin Imrie, XR organizer in Toronto, said maybe a dozen of people were arrested after a number of protesters refused to disperse.

Twenty protesters were arrested at the scene of a climate demonstration that blocked traffic for several hours on the Bloor Viaduct on Monday, police say.

We did the best that we could to close things down in an organized fashion, Imrie told CTV News Channel.

Climate activists pose for the media outside Buckingham Palace during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. London Police say some 135 climate activists have been arrested as the Extinction Rebellion group attempts to draw attention to global warming. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Clown world: Extinction Rebellion is a carnival for middle classes who love to dress up as activists

I understand that people are angry. I would also hope that they would be angry at the folks who are putting them in danger by not taking action on climate change.

The protests in Canada were on some of the countrys busiest bridges including Angus L. Macdonald Bridge over Halifax Harbour, the Burrard Street bridge in Vancouver and the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto where protesters sprawled out on the roadway, according to The Canadian Press.

On the other side of the country police in Victoria, B.C., say they are prepared for another XR protest at the Johnson Street Bridge, CTV Vancouver Island reports.

"The #BridgeOut campaign points out that the bridge to the future is being demolished by big oil, and oily politicians," said a Facebook page organizing the event.

"This escalation of tactics is the minimum of whats necessary to give young people a fighting chance at a decent future. We regret that ordinary people will be frustrated by the commute disruption, but the collapse of human society would be a much bigger inconvenience."

Meanwhile, demonstrators stopped traffic in European cities including Berlin, London, Paris and Amsterdam. In New York, activists smeared themselves — and other emblems of Wall Street — in fake blood and similarly laid in the street.

Protesters also planned to shut down the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver, according to CTV News Vancouver. A Facebook group for the event indicated more than 2,000 people were interested in taking part in the closure.

During protests, XR activists have been known to dress in white masks, face paint and red costumes. Demonstrators have splattered statutes, buildings and other public spaces with fake blood as part of the groups protests.

And in Edmonton, a handful of XR protesters linked arms to block the Walterdale Bridge Monday morning to demand action on climate change.

According to The Guardian and Ecohustler, the symbol is meant to represent the sixth mass extinction on earth with the circle representing the planet and the hourglass warning time is running out for countless species.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, criticizing the action on Twitter, noted that traffic backups meant hundreds of cars were idling for no good reason.

The police service told The Canadian Press that an officer negotiated with the protesters, who agreed to end the blockade an hour earlier than planned.

The environmental campaigners, known as XR, seek to draw attention to the climate emergency and want to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025. The group boasts to have chapters in around 50 countries.

The protest in Albertas capital was one of 60 happening around the world on Monday under the umbrella #BridgeOut, according to CTV News Edmonton.

Calgary was planning a "family-friendly" event on Monday afternoon with similar protests planned for Montreal, The Canadian Press reported.

Meanwhile in London, England, police arrested 21 climate change activists on Saturday and Sunday on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Further protests took place in London on Monday.

The arrests come as protesters in Berlin and Amsterdam blocked roads ahead of what is being described as widespread demonstrations.

Last week, XR attempted to spray fake blood on a British government building in London, using an out-of-commission fire engine to drench the front of the Treasury building.

Some pixs of Extinction Rebellion protest, which has the Macdonald Bridge closed between Dartmouth and Halifax. No word on when it will be [email protected] @C100FM pic.twitter.com/1WeYvgxDbs

Extinction Rebellion protests cause havoc in major European cities

Members of Extinction Rebellion, protesting issues related to climate change, gather at the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth, N.S. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Members of Extinction Rebellion, protesting issues related to climate change, march to the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth, N.S. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan