Using the Johnson Street Bridge to get home on Monday may be a little more hectic than usual as Extinction Rebellion (XR) plans to block the bridge as part of a nationwide #BridgeOut campaign.
While cyclists, pedestrians and emergency vehicles will be allowed through, organizers say this escalation in tactics is the minimum of what’s necessary to give young people a fighting chance at a decent future.
Starting at 3:30 p.m., activists will meet at the small plaza at Store Street and Pandora Avenue before making their way onto the bridge to stop traffic until 7:30 p.m.
“Shutting down the bridge symbolizes that we are on a bridge to nowhere,” said 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 … [we need] to be first responders and take action.”
XR’s core demands consist of:
1. The government must tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
2. Government must act immediately to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
4. Decarbonization and decolonization cannot occur without deep respect and meaningful support for indigenous sovereignty, title and rights.
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.
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.”
He noted there are other ways for protestors to demonstrate and raise their concerns.
“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.”
This is one of many bridge takeovers happening across the country. One is planned for the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver on the same day.
The event follows last week’s Global Climate Strike — that saw thousands of people attend in Victoria alone — and a week of action prior to that. More than 150 countries around the world participated in the strikes, which are inspired by Greta Thunberg.
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