An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. A ‘grim reaper’ figure appears at every XRVI protest. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. A ‘grim reaper’ figure appears at every XRVI protest. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VIDEO: Johnson Street bridge reopens after climate change protest halts traffic

Only buses, bikes, pedestrians and emergency vehicles allowed through

A climate change activism group brought its ‘global rebellion’ to Victoria Monday afternoon, with protesters blocking traffic on the Johnson Street Bridge for three and a half hours.

Described as a peaceful event, the occupation included songs, speeches and even some tears, with protesters hoping to build on the momentum of last month’s climate strikes.

Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) says the ‘climate and extinction emergency protest’ is part of a nation-wide #BridgeOut campaign that has had protesters occupy busy bridges in cities across Canada. The campaign also saw protesters take over bridges in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal and Halifax.

RELATED: VIDEO: Climate protesters shut down bridges in Canadian cities as part of global action

“Shutting down the bridge symbolizes that we are on a bridge to nowhere,” said a statement from Mark Nykanen, an XR spokesperson. “With droughts, deadly heatwaves, and hurricanes wiping out entire islands and cities, nature is sending us a 911 call about the climate emergency. All of us have to be first responders and take action.”

Protesters occupied the bridge from 3:30 p.m. to close to 6 p.m., halting regular traffic and allowing only cyclists, pedestrians, buses and emergency vehicles to pass.

The Victoria Police Department said they are aware of the event and will be providing additional updates on Sunday and Monday through their twitter account @vicpdcanada.

“As always with public demonstrations and protests, our focus will be on ensuring public safety at the event,” said Bowen Osoko, VicPD Spokesperson.

RELATED: Climate activists plan to close Vancouver bridge as part of Canada-wide protest

Premier John Horgan also weighed in late Monday morning. “I don’t believe it’s ever a good idea to frustrate other peoples’ lives to make your point.”

“We’re in the middle of a federal election campaign. There are many issues in the commons, and people want to raise those issues to the top of the debate. There is a federal debate this evening and I’m certain that climate action and climate change will be part of that.”

A press release from the organization says, “we apologize for any hardships that take place, but for decades, governments have failed to act on the climate crisis to protect all of us, leaving citizens with little recourse.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. Only emergency vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and buses were permitted to pass the bridge. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. Only emergency vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and buses were permitted to pass the bridge. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VIDEO: Johnson Street bridge reopens after climate change protest halts traffic

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge Monday afternoon. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)