Black Friday and a climate change demonstration could lead to commuter chaos in downtown Vancouver Friday.
Environmental group Extinction Rebellion Vancouver is planning what it’s calling a “funeral” procession, which will take to the streets — and malls — of the downtown core.
“It’s a sombre moment to reflect on the millions of species that are threatened with extinction as the climate and ecological crisis continue to worsen,” said group spokesperson Mayaan Kreitzman.
“We really need to take a moment to grieve and really feel sadness and be together as we acknowledge reality before we even try to do anything about it.”
Demonstrators are scheduled to meet at the Burrard SkyTrain Station at 1 p.m. before marching, and are not making their route clear ahead of time.
The group will then hold a post-funeral “wake” at the intersection of Robson Street and Thurlow Street.
Kreitzman said it’s likely it will disrupt traffic.
“Non-violent civil disobedience is what Extinction Rebellion does, and it’s an effective mode of creating change in the world,” she said.
“Social science and history have shown that.”
It’s the latest in a series of direct actions that Extinction Rebellion has staged in Vancouver and around the world.
In October, the group took over the Burrard Street Bridge for more than 12 hours, leading to the arrest of 10 protesters for obstruction of justice.
The group was back on the streets just a week later with a “snake march” that disrupted rush hour traffic.
Protesters say they have three demands of government: “telling the truth” about the urgency of climate change, cutting greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2025, and creating a citizens’ assembly to lead climate action.
Vancouver police said they were aware of the event, and would make deployment decisions “as need be.”
“Public safety is always our priority when it comes to preparation and police resources for these events including the safety of protesters and our officers,” said Const. Tania Visintin in an email.
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“Police will also try to reduce any impact the protests may have on traffic, local businesses, and the public. The VPD do have plans in place to deal with situations that may arise.”
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 report says emissions must be cut by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 in order to avoid severe climate change impacts.
Canada committed in the Paris Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent to 2005 levels by 2030, but a new U.N. report says the country is on track to miss that target by 15 per cent.