Five people were arrested Friday night as BC climate activists ended 14 days of protests ahead of the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
World leaders will discuss emission reduction targets at the summit, which runs from 31 October to 12 November.
In the run-up to the meetings, climate activists with the Vancouver chapter of the Extinction Rebellion conducted direct public actions for two weeks in a row, protesting against Canada’s investment in fossil fuels.
The five arrests came after three people locked themselves in a concrete structure in the middle of an intersection near the entrance to the Burrard Street Bridge in the center, and two others were for other related behavior.
Those who locked themselves attached to a specially constructed concrete block that allows activists to release themselves as they wish, but it is impossible for others – such as law enforcement – to detach them unless they destroy the structure.
“The activists released themselves after three hours and were immediately arrested,” reads a statement from the Extinction Rebellion.
According to the Vancouver Police Department, activists freed themselves after the Vancouver Fire Rescue Services arrived at the scene to cut them out of the structure.
Vancouver Police Departments Sgt. Steve Addison claims that the other two people were arrested after lying on the road and that they were all put in jail. But Extinction Rebellion communications coordinator Sara Hall says only one person lay down on the road and the other directed traffic around the blockade – and was released on the spot.
“One (person) directing the traffic was arrested illegally and quickly released. The other was arrested for lying in the intersection in solidarity and refusing to leave,” the Extinction Rebellion press release sent by Hall read.
The protest group says those arrested were treated rudely by police.