Vancouver police arrested six people as environmental activists blockaded the Cambie Street Bridge on Saturday afternoon. oon.
The sit-in was organized by Extinction Rebellion, a group known internationally for its disruptive and theatrical protests.
Demonstrators say they’re opposed to ongoing logging in B.C.’s old-growth forests, and have planned a concurrent protest at the B.C. legislature in Victoria calling for an end to the practice.
Police said about 150 people had marched to the bridge and blocked traffic in both directions.
“After allowing the group to peacefully assemble and express themselves, VPD officers asked the protesters to step aside so the bridge could reopen,” police said in a media release.
“Four adult women and two adult men who refused to move were arrested for mischief and intimidation by blocking a roadway.”
Protesters said Saturday’s demonstrations Were in solidarity with a group of activists who are blockading logging access to the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island.
The B.C. Supreme Court is slated to rule on a possible injunction against those activists on April 1.
“Cutting down ancient forests not only destroys the rarest and most biodiverse habitat we have, it also trashes an extremely effective carbon sink and disturbs the soil, resulting in further CO2 emissions,” Extinction Rebellion volunteer Kelly Tatham said in the media release.
“These trees are a vital component of mitigating catastrophic warming and biodiversity loss on the planet and they deserve to be respected as ancient living beings — not ravaged for consumption.”
Last fall, British Columbia updated its old-growth strategy, protecting 300,000 hectares of old-growth forest and postponing logging in nine areas.
But activists planning Saturday’s protest say the province has not followed through on the review’s recommendation to halt logging in rare and at-risk ecosystems.
The provincial government also asserts B.C. still has 13 million hectares of old-growth forest, a figure environmentalists dispute. A 2020 report from ecologists argued just three per cent of those hectares actually support large trees.