Climate activists shut down Johnson Street bridge, pour fake blood in B.C. legislature fountain

Climate activists shut down Johnson Street bridge, pour fake blood in B.C. legislature fountain

Protesters shut down traffic on the Johnson Street Bridge Monday afternoon as part of an international movement demanding the government take more urgent action against climate change.

Activists with the environmental group Extinction Rebellion blocked the bridge from 3 p.m. to around 5:45 p.m. Only cyclists, pedestrians and BC Transit buses were getting through.

Traffic was being rerouted by VicPD at Pandora Avenue and Government Street, and Esquimalt and Tyee roads.

The timing wasn’t ideal for rush-hour drivers. The nearby Bay Street bridge has only the westbound lane open. Gorge Road is also partially closed for a nearby sinkhole repair. The road will be fully closed at Gorge Road West and Albina Street. The westbound lane at Harriet Road and Gorge Road West will also be blocked. The section between the closure and Harriet Road on Gorge Road West will remain open for local traffic and may travel eastbound passed Harriet Road and Gorge Road West.

“Everyone’s going to have to have some patience today. We only really have one good artery going out,” Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said.

She is also questioning whether the protest is the right way to promote climate action.

“We’re going to have people sitting in their cars and there’s going to be exhaust, so are we meeting goals?”

Extinction Rebellion protests took place around the world on Monday. In Vancouver, rain-soaked protesters shut down the Burrard Street Bridge for hours. There were similar demonstrations in Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, as well as Sydney, Australia and London, England.

In some places, there were confrontations and in other places, arrests.

In New York, protesters doused Wall Street’s “charging bull” in a red liquid, meant to look like blood. Protesters in Victoria also put fake blood in the B.C. legislature’s outdoor fountain on Monday morning, a message from activists that those who are supporting, and funding, the fossil fuel industry have blood on their hands.

Climate change activists put fake blood into the B.C. legislature fountain during a climate change protest on Oct. 7, 2019.

“That is like taking us into a dark future with our headlights off. It’s societal suicide that’s blood money, that’s what it symbolizes today,” Mark Nykanen, an Extinction Rebellion organizer said.

With files from Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press


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