Climate change protesters shut down Burrard Bridge, but cause little disruption

Henrietta Strickland
October 8, 2019

Around 30 people were arrested as the Extinction Rebellion movement staged a day of disruptive protest in the capital on Monday, culminating in a sit-in at a busy city intersection in the evening rush hour.

Activists from the Extinction Rebellion group split up into teams of 10 and planned to storm the CBD in stages.

"We need to raise the profile, we need the Government to listen, and whatever age, whatever sex agenda, we need to be out here".

Richard Dyer, a retired doctor from Scotland who was taking part in the street protests, said he regarded it as an extension of his medical career because climate change was the biggest threat yet to public health.

This climate protest is part of an global campaign. The protests organized by Extinction Rebellion, an worldwide advocacy group founded previous year in a small English town, launched what the organization says will be series of events in more than 60 countries across the world.

Hundreds of protesters blocked roads around Millbank, Embankment, Parliament Street, Lambeth Bridge, The Mall and the Trafalgar Square.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has disagreed with the disruptive style of the latest climate change protest which hit Wellington.

"We need to be dealing on the municipal, provincial, federal and global level if we're 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.

In Australia, climate activists demonstrating on behalf of Extinction Rebellion are pressing ahead with a week of protest stunts, with one man dangling from Brisbane's Story Bridge for the cause and several arrests reported in three cities.

Officers arrested 18 people positioned on the artery linking the city to nearby Dartmouth.

At sunrise, some were sleeping in insulated bags in the middle of the roundabout as police on motorbikes drove by.

Andrew Moore said: "I have been a primary school teacher for 20 years, trying to provide children with the skills, attitudes and opportunities to live happy, fulfilling lives and to make our world a better place for everyone".

In Halifax, police moved in to end a demonstration at the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge after about four hours.

The Canadian protests did not attract the same numbers seen in some European cities where hundreds of activists turned out in force, but nonetheless sparked anger among people caught up in major traffic delays.

Head of the federal chancellery Helge Braun, from Merkel's CDU, criticised the blockades: "We all share the concern about climate protection and the climate targets, but if you announce unsafe interventions in traffic and things like that - that's of course not okay".

Before the demonstration, Extinction Rebellion Toronto asked some of its members to volunteer for arrest. He also has enough food and supplies to stay up there for multiple days.

On its website, the group states: "Take two weeks off work, bring your family and friends and join us in the streets for a one time only 'chance of life.' We can not do this alone, everybody counts and we need everyone to join us, now". "We are peaceful, what are you?"

In central Paris, dozens of Extinction Rebellion activists blocked a street and bridge in the Chatelet district. Events will also be held in India, Argentina, and South Africa.

Protestors have reportedly been instructed to refuse bail when arrested in the hope that police holding cells will become full, restricting capacity for further arrests.

While it's unclear how much traffic disruption will occur, Extinction Rebellion's previous protests have proven effective at bringing key areas to a near standstill.

The prime minister talked up New Zealand's track record on climate change action.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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