Vancouver police arrest 5 in ‘grand finale’ of climate protests

The protesters locked themselves in a unit at the intersection of Burrard and the Pacific

Fourteen days of traffic disruption from a climate action group in Vancouver ended last night when protesters blocked a major intersection in the center.

Extinction Rebellion Vancouver’s first protest in “14 Days of Disruption” took place on October 16, blocking the intersection of Burrard and Georgia streets. Each subsequent day of the fourteen-day uprising had a specific theme, with the overriding requirement to stop all subsidies for fossil fuel projects. For the group’s “grand finale” protest, its members met in Nelson Park on the evening of October 29, before marching downtown.

With no clear destination in mind, protesters meandered through the center before blocking the intersection at Burrard and Pacific Ave.

According to social media posts made by Extinction Rebellion during the protest, insurgents locked themselves in a device called a “hardblock” in the middle of the intersection. Devices like these are meant to make it harder to remove protesters from a given area.

“VPD officers arrested five people tonight after protesters blocked traffic for several hours in the center,” VPD tweeted in the hours after the protest. “Three men and two women were jailed after rejecting several requests from the VPD to leave the intersection.”

The arrests bring the total to 54, including one in Nanaimo.

Brent Eichler is a member of the Extinction Rebellion and president of the Unifor Local 950 and told Vancouver is amazing in an earlier interview that he knew the group’s actions would anger locals – especially those behind the wheel.

“We understand that, and we accept that there is no other way … because we tried all other ways,” he said, adding that the protesters must accept “great personal cost.”

David Suzuki attended Extinction Rebellion’s first of “14 Days of Disruption” on October 16, where he spoke to protesters and passersby.

“You know what the UN said in 2019: We are facing a loss of biodiversity, without precedent – and that threatens the human biosphere,” he said. VIA in a previous interview.

“How can we survive in a world where humans have taken over most of the planet, eliminated so many ecosystems and species? It’s really quite scary.”

Read a full interview with Suzuki about his thoughts on the local protests.

With files from Elana Shepert

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