Calgary climate protesters skip major traffic disruption, hand out Timbits instead

In stark contrast with other demonstrations across Canada Monday, members of Calgary's Extinction Rebellion protest didn't cause a significant stir.

Protest was in stark contrast to other demonstrations held across Canada Monday

Climate protesters with the Extinction Rebellion movement fill a crosswalk on the north side of the 10th Street bridge during a red light in northwest Calgary on Monday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Climate demonstrators blocked bridges in major cities across Canada Monday, bringing rush hour traffic to a standstill for hours to draw attention to their cause, but Calgary members of Extinction Rebellion favoured a lighter approach.

Dozens of protesters waited for traffic lights to turn red at the Louise Bridge before walking into the crosswalk, handing out Timbits to appease stopped drivers along with pamphlets advocating their message. The protestors largely retreated as soon as the light turned green.

On a few occasions, protesters were slow to clear the roadway or blocked the intersection for the length of a single traffic light — prompting a flurry of honks from drivers who resented the minutes-long delay.

That contrasts sharply with demonstrations in Halifax and Toronto, where some protesters were arrested, or Edmonton where fist fights reportedly broke out. In those cities, traffic was stalled for hours. 

"What we hope to get out of this is we want to make Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians aware of the urgency of the need for action. And we want them to join us pressing the case to government that we need to take action in this crisis," said Andy Kubrin, spokesperson for the Calgary chapter.

"We are blocking the road so that climate action can take the fast lane," read the cards handed out by Calgary protesters. 

A climate protester, clad in suit and tie, hands out Timbits and Extinction Rebellion pamphlets to drivers in northwest Calgary on Monday. (Radio-Canada)

The Extinction Rebellion movement, also known as XR, was founded in Britain last year.

Canadian protesters are calling on the federal government to acknowledge the  threat of climate change, commit to halting biodiversity loss and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and create a citizens' body to hold politicians to account on climate action.

"Scientists tell us that we are on track for three-and-a-half to four degrees of warming by the end of this century," said Kubrin.

"This is a state of affairs that can't continue. We're part of nature and depend on nature."

Extinction Rebellion protesters strung a sign reading "extinction ahead" along the letters of the Memorial Drive sign in northwest Calgary on Monday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

With files from Hala Ghonaim


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