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Toronto, Halifax, Kitchener, Vancouver, and in The Post Millennial’s backyard, Montreal.
Bridges have been blocked across the globe by climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, who have gone from a squad of 100 academics to a worldwide activism group who are making news with their less than subtle, yet peaceful ways.
Earlier in the day, three members of the group had been arrested for climbing, and subsequently temporarily shutting down, the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the third busiest bridge in Canada.
The group made its way to Montreal on what happened to be the one-year anniversary of the United Nation-commissioned IPCC Special Report, which noted that world leaders and lawmakers had only just over a decade’s time to stop a potentially irreversible change to our climate.
To “celebrate” the one year mark, some protesters even brought a cake, mountainous in size, covered in several of the Extinction Rebellion’s logos with a green “1” candle, and vegan for all to enjoy.
The Post Millennial sent down two reporters to see what these protesters had to say. The move of blocking off traffic, shutting down bridges, and causing congestion and idling in city streets is perhaps not the most intuitive way to get the attention of the masses. Rather, it seems to annoy most who just want to get to their destinations, all while wasting gas.
But this all abides by one of the group’s mantras, of using “nonviolent civil disobedience” to get the attention of policymakers and the general population alike.
The march started at Place du Canada and started their trek towards the streets of Montreal. A solid turnout, with the front row reading “MOVEMENT NON-VIOLENT,” along with a large, professionally made green banner which read “Rebellion Contre L’Extinction.”
Attendees which we spoke to seemed optimistic about the movement’s future. Event spokesperson Francois Leger Boyer told The Post Millenial the movement is growing steadily.
“It’s growing, and there’s two aspects to why it’s growing. The IPCC report is the scientific community telling us that we’re approaching oblivion, we’re approaching climate catastrophe,” said the organizer, afront a line of police. “People are not stupid. They understand that, and it brings a really uncomfortable feeling—that our own extinction is possible.”
Leger Boyer told us that they’d hoped that the event would march further out into the streets, but police wanted to redirect the march off of their intended path.
The march came to a halt at Mansfield and Rene Levesque Boulevard, as many protesters up front eventually took a seat, and sang happy birthday to the U.N. Report in a moment of joy.
The march was led by filmmaker and climate activist Elza Kephart, who led the crowd with jingles and chants. Kephart, who has since committed her life to green activism, wrote for HuffPo Quebec that Extinction Rebellion’s civil disobedience aims to “disturb the kind of voluntary blindness of everyone,” stating that “this is the last resort to change policies.”
Kephart then allowed members of the march to answer who they were marching for. Most of the answers were for younger siblings, family members, and future children who they believe will not have the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment.
The event was the second climate-related march in a short span for the city. Less than two weeks ago, the streets of Montreal filled with an estimated 500,000 protesters as climate figurehead Greta Thunberg came to town with a similar message.
Not all of those in the march were thrilled about the former protest, though. One man, who went by George, told The Post Millennial that he felt as though the crowd of 500,000 was mostly there “to be trendy.”
“The Greta march was a bit different. You saw a lot of people who were just there for Instagram, and it would have been better if there were 500,000 people who actually cared about the movement.”
The event went on into the night with a small jazz group playing tunes as people danced along. Eventgoers emphasized that this was a nonviolent movement, which is a good thing, considering the large police presence that the city of Montreal brought, along with their serious firepower.
The event ended with law enforcement instructing protesters to leave the area, which prompted a “die-in,” with Montreal Police drawing a perimeter around the area.
No arrests were made and the event remained peaceful.