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Hamilton chapter of Extinction Rebellion slows traffic on Burlington Lift Bridge

Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

Extinction Rebellion, a group of environmental protestors calling for immediate action on the climate crisis, caused some disruption on the Burlington Lift Bridge Thursday morning.

About a dozen protestors began their demonstration just after 8:30 a.m. carrying banners and signs during intermittent blockades on Eastport Drive which slowed traffic for short periods of time.

Extinction Rebellion chapters are part of an international climate movement that’s been closing bridges and roads globally over the past several weeks.

READ MORE: Extinction Rebellion N.S. members on hunger strike to urge action on climate change crisis

Group spokesperson Cameron Topp told Global News that this kind of disruptive protest seems to be the only way to get elected officials to act on climate change.

“We’re all part of what we consider a toxic system. And it’s the system that’s the problem,” Topp said. “We’re not trying to blame any particular individual.”

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Topp went on to say that the people in the action are just “regular folks” and not in any way professional protestors.

The ultimate goal is to inspire real action on climate change and do away with “toothless” agreements, Topp said.

He uses Hamilton’s own city council as an example saying it passed a climate emergency declaration in march, yet still approves projects in the city that contribute to climate change.

“Now we’re standing up to say we can’t have business as usual anymore. It’s too late. And just talk, more talk agreements that have no teeth. They don’t work,” Topp said.

Topp says the Lift Bridge is a specific target due to the fact the bridge is a ramp to bring coal into Hamilton where it’s burned, creating greenhouse gas emissions.

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READ MORE: Climate group Extinction Rebellion vows to fight London, U.K. protest ban

When asked if disrupting motorists is a good idea in generating sympathy for the cause, Topp said there is as much feedback supportive of their cause as is frustrated by their action.

“The thing that we’re trying to ask motorists and other passersby here is to appreciate we’re taking the time to stand up physically,” Topp said, “Many of us are putting our bodies in uncomfortable situations. This is not something I’ve ever done before, but I just can’t live with myself for what world my children, my grandchildren are going to live in.”

READ MORE: Extinction Rebellion plans to shut down Vancouver traffic again Friday

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