Charges dropped against 20 climate protesters who blocked Bloor Viaduct in Toronto

Climate change protests shuts down Bloor Viaduct, several arrested
Hours after climate change protesters shut down the Bloor Viaduct, Toronto police moved in and began arresting participants. Caryn Lieberman reports. (Oct. 2019)

TORONTO – Prosecutors have dropped charges against 20 protesters who blocked a key Toronto bridge as part of international climate demonstrations last month.

Crown attorneys told a Toronto court today it would not be in the public interest to pursue criminal charges against the protesters, who blocked the Bloor Viaduct for several hours on Oct. 7 as part of an international movement to spur urgent government action on climate change.

READ MORE: Climate change activists, demonstration takes over Bloor Viaduct in Toronto

Some of the accused had expressed frustration at being charged for engaging in what they and police have described as a peaceful protest.

The Toronto chapter of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion said at the time of the demonstration that impeding traffic was a necessary, if disruptive, tactic.

READ MORE: Toronto’s climate strike march takes over downtown core

Similar protests also took place in Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver and other Canadian cities, while some European cities saw hundreds of people turn up for protests.

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One of the Toronto protesters wore a cow jumpsuit to today’s court appearance, while others removed plush cow and bull hats before the proceedings began as non-religious headwear is prohibited inside courtrooms.