Three in custody after climate protest climb shuts down Montreal’s Jacques-Cartier Bridge
Three environmental activists surrendered and were taken into custody after the climbed Montreal’s Jacques-Cartier Bridge in a protest this morning that prompted provincial police to close the road off to traffic. Two women and a man with Extinction Rebellion Québec, had begun climbing the bridge before sunrise, and surrendered shortly after 8 am.
Spokesperson for the environmentalist group, Louis Ramirez said, “You can arrest people, but it won’t change the problem of climate change. The science is now dead clear, and what we’re now seeing is lives are in danger. Hundreds of millions of them.” Extinction Rebellion said achieving “climate justice” will require massive and continued political action and so far, the hundreds of thousands of people who have mobilized to protest climate change in Quebec are being ignored.
In a statement released today, the group said, “Joining thousands of rebels across the globe in a week of direct actions, a team of climbers from the Extinction Rebellion in Quebec have scaled the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and opted to redecorate the structure.”
One of the three protesters made a live video broadcast on Facebook from the top of the bridge. They said the action aimed to “disrupt the social order” so authorities will listen. Meanwhile, protesters gathered on the bridge’s bicycle and pedestrian path holding signs and chanting support for the climbers.
Provincial police spokesperson Sgt Claude Denis said the first 911 call came in at around 5.45 am. One traffic lane was closed initially, followed by the rest of the bridge that was shut down. The police department worked closely with the fire unit to gain control of the situation without causing casualties. Charges on the arrested protesters have not been confirmed yet.
Spokesperson for Montreal’s fire department, Louise Desrosiers said firefighters are “always ready for these types of interventions.” They said the department’s high-angle rescue team climbed the bridge to monitor the situation. The protesters were calm but had no intention of leaving the bridge. She said rescuers remained near the protesters until police could step in.