Climate protester says she doesn't regret actions which led to arrest

A protester who was arrested at city hall says she doesn't regret her actions.

'The goal of the movement is to bring attention, bring awareness'

Daphnee Azoulay has been told to keep the peace and stay away from the P.E.I. legislature following a court appearance in Charlottetown Thursday. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Protester Daphnee Azoulay says she doesn't regret walking into the inner chamber of Charlottetown city council Monday night after she was told she couldn't hold up a banner in the public seating area.

She said she should have been allowed to hold up the banner that said, "declare a climate emergency now." 

"They need to know, they need to see that people are worried," Azoulay said Tuesday. 

'The plan was not to disrupt'

Azoulay is with the P.E.I. chapter of Extinction Rebellion — a global grassroots group that wants to reduce emissions. 

Extinction Rebellion launched in the U.K. last fall, demanding that government tell the truth about climate change and develop policies leading to net zero carbon emissions by 2025.

Azoulay came to city hall with another protester while another member filmed their actions. 

"We wanted only to show our sign to the councillors, so it would not have disrupted the meeting," Azoulay said. 

CAO Peter Kelly approached Azoulay and fellow protester David Woodbury almost immediately when they attempted to open up the banner telling them, "there are no signs allowed in council."

Kelly took the banner from them. It was at that point Azoulay went into the inner chamber.

CAO Peter Kelly approaches Extinction Rebellion members at a council meeting Monday night. (Submitted by Ramona Pal-Kovacs)

Police spent some time asking Azoulay to leave that area and when she refused, she was handcuffed and forced out.

"The plan was not to disrupt," Azoulay said.

She said they had planned to respect the agenda, and stand there with the sign.

'Not wrong to try and give a message'

She explained she only entered the council chamber because they weren't allowed to hold up their message and she wanted the banner back. 

"It is not wrong to try and give a message," Azoulay said. 

"It was important for me to get the banner back because it's an emergency right now, to do something about climate change," she said. 

I think it was obvious to everyone involved, it was an attempt to provoke a confrontation- Charlottetown Deputy police Chief  Brad MacConnell

Azoulay is facing charges of causing a disturbance in a public place and will  be ordered to stay away from city hall. 

Charlottetown Deputy police Chief Brad MacConnell said it is unusual to see someone arrested and removed from a council meeting. 

Court date set

"I think it was obvious to everyone involved, it was an attempt to provoke a confrontation," MacConnell said.

"It's unfortunate there was a struggle. We tried to do it with as much respect as we could and least amount of force as we could," said MacConnell.

Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell says it was unfortunate there was a struggle. 'We tried to do it with as much respect as we could and least amount of force as we could.' (Laura Meader/CBC)

Azoulay said police treated her well and has no complaints about her arrest.

"My plan is to get a lawyer and prove that it is not wrong to give a message," she said. 

She is scheduled to appear in court April 18.

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With files from Laura Meader