The radical climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion has successfully shut down bridges and roads across the world, leading to huge inconveniences and hundreds to thousands of arrests worldwide.
The protest is a part of a larger movement under the hashtag #BridgeOut. In Canada, the main targets of disruption included several of Canada’s major bridges on Monday, including the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge over Halifax Harbour, the Burrard Street bridge in Vancouver, and the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto.
According to the Vancouver Sun, police closed the Burrard Street Bridge at roughly 9:30 a.m. and it has remained closed throughout the day due to the “human barricade in the northbound lanes.”
The tactics used included making barricades to bar access to the bridges and lying down on the street. According to a tweet from Extinction Rebellion, “The inaction of our governments on the climate & ecological catastrophe is locking us all into a nightmare future. This is why we rebel.” Their goal is to cause as much havoc as possible in hopes of pressuring governments into instituting environmentalist policies.
“There will be broad disruption of business as usual,” said a New York-based Extinction Rebellion spokesman. “Frankly we don’t have time to wait for an opportune moment. Climate breakdown is underway and we can’t afford to wait.”
“We need to account for the damage caused by fossil fuels because we have the chance of losing it all,” said Jim Navarre, a protestor from New York’s Long Island who help up a sign reading “You can’t comb over climate change with a picture of Trump’s hair atop the globe,” according to The Guardian.
The activist group was originally founded in the U.K. in 2018 and quickly grew in size to constitute a worldwide organization as progressively more alarmist rhetoric gained popularity.
While touting environmentalist slogans, the protesters have come under heavy criticism for the CO2 caused by the protest, especially considering many of the protesters drove several kilometres to participate in the protest.
Despite the apparent hypocrisy, “Activist Edison Huang said additional emissions created by the protests are “a small cost to pushing forward with systemic change,” reports Global News.
We can’t be certain that Huang did any of the math to support this claim, but it’s unlikely.
At least 18 were arrested after protesters blocked the MacDonald bridge in Halifax, causing serious delays and even emergencies, reports Global News. Police shut down the bridge earlier this morning in the interest of public safety.
“Halifax Regional Police would like to reiterate that we respect people’s right for peaceful protest and that public safety has been our top consideration as we planned our response for the Macdonald Bridge protest,” HRP spokesperson Const. John MacLeod said in the release.
“Our deployment decisions were made in close consultation with partners, especially the Halifax Harbour Bridges, in the interest of safety of commuters, protestors and members of the public.”
Similar situations arose at the Waterdale Bridge, where a man can be seen begging to cross the bridge so that he can feed his infant child.
Multiple protesters were also arrested in Toronto after they blocked the Bloor Viaduct.
According to CBC, “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.
“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.”
“We have to act as if it’s an emergency,” Alatzakis said
In New York, at least twenty climate activists were arrested after they invaded the city’s financial district and poured fake blood on the Wall Street charging bull statue as part of a staged “die-in.”
According to the BBC, other protests included the following:
- A sit-in on a main road in Sydney, Australia, which led to police dragging several hundreds away and the charging of at least 30 protesters.
- There were also arrests in New Zealand, “where activists surrounded the government building in Wellington that houses the ministry granting oil and gas drilling permits.”
- Over 1000 were arrested in Amsterdam after they tried to block a road outside the Dutch national museum by erecting a tent camp
- In Berlin, traffic was also blocked, but authorities abstained from arresting anyone.
- And at least 1,000 activists “backed by the yellow-vest anti-government movement” occupied a shopping centre in Paris.
Dozens more were arrested in London, England, home to Extinction Rebellion.
The furthest it appears the movement went, however, was Delhi, India. So far, there is no evidence that the protests reached China, which emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the next three countries combined.