This morning, about 50 environmental activists were hoping to do something unprecedented.
They planned to occupy the Lions Gate Bridge, halting afternoon commuter traffic between downtown Vancouver and the North Shore over the First Narrows Crossing.
But Vancouver police decided that this would not be permitted, keeping the demonstrators on the sidewalk in the Stanley Park Causeway and refusing to allow them to proceed to the bridge. And by the end of the day, seven Extinction Rebellion Vancouver activists had been arrested as motorists continued crossing the bridge unimpeded.
“While we respect peoples’ democratic right to peacefully assemble and express their views, we also understand how frustrating and inconvenient it is for people trying to move around the city when roads and bridges are blocked,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in a Vancouver police news release.
“The Lions Gate Bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure used by tens of thousands of people daily, including motorists, transit riders, and emergency services," he continued. "Closing this bridge for any length of time would guarantee gridlock and could put lives at risk.”
Extinction Rebellion Vancouver accused police of "roughly" shoving and pushing activists backward.
The activists came with signs announcing their support for protecting lands and waters that were under the control of local First Nations for thousands of years before Europeans colonized North America.
Extinction Rebellion Vancouver launched its five-day "Spring Rebellion" on May 1 by blocking traffic at the intersection of West Georgia and Granville streets.
The following day, the demonstrators blockaded the Granville Bridge.
On Tuesday (May 4), they plan on gathering at Robson Square at noon for a ride on bikes and skateboards to defend the old growth forest on Pacheedaht territory on Vancouver Island. This is being billed as Extinction Rebellion Vancouver's "Tour De Climate Justice".