Climate activists staged a sit-in protest outside of Premier François Legault’s Montreal office on Saturday.
Protesters met at Mont-Royal park and marched downtown where they held a five-hour sit-in protest on Sherbrooke Street and McGill College Avenue.
Activists were met by a heavy police presence. Montreal police spokesperson Constable Caroline Chèvrefils said 25 people were arrested between the ages of 18 and 57. Organizer group Extinction Rebellion, however, said there were 26 arrests.
When police asked the protesters to clear the space, 26 activists sat down in the street in protest, said May Chiu, spokesperson for environmental group Extinction Rebellion, one of the event organizers.
The protesters were arrested and face charges of obstructing the work of police officers, said Chèvrefils. They have all been released from police custody.
“Some of the cops were rough with a couple of our activists,” said Chiu.
“We are here today to alarm the population and the government about the urgency of climate change and how we have to act now,” she said.
Chiu explained that those participating in the demonstration were practicing “non-violent disobedience.” Their demand is for immediate climate action. They are calling on the government to reduce emissions to net zero by 2025.
“The planet cannot wait,” she said.
The Extinction Rebellion group also conducted protests in several U.K. cities on Saturday, including London.
The Montreal event was organized by Extinction Rebellion’s Quebec chapter, La Planète s’invite au Parlement, La Planète s’invite à l’Université and Pour le futur Montréal.
— With files from Global News’ Dan Spector and The Canadian Press
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