4 arrested during Extinction Rebellion 'die-in' at downtown Vancouver intersection
Four people were arrested at a "die-in" that blocked a downtown Vancouver intersection Saturday afternoon.
Vancouver police estimated that about 50 people took part in the Extinction Rebellion march to the intersection of Georgia and Burrard streets, where 13 people lay on the ground, blocking traffic.
Two men and two women were arrested for mischief, taken to jail and released pending a future court date, police said in a news release.
The protest was the first of 14 consecutive days of planned civil disobedience ahead of the COP26 climate change meetings in Scotland.
Extinction Rebellion Vancouver member Lauren Emberson told CTV News Vancouver the theme of the two weeks of protests is that Canada's government needs to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry and do more to reduce the country's carbon emissions.
"This government, our government, is paying the fossil fuel industry $40 million a day in subsidies, and we say that that is not right," Emberson said. "We say that this industry is part of what's heading us towards climate catastrophe."
"We want them to end the subsidies now," she added. "That's the minimum that they can do."
The $40 million figure appears to be based on a report from the advocacy group Environmental Defence, which concluded that the federal government provided at least $18 billion to oil and gas companies in 2020.
Many of the subsidies listed in the report are intended to help with emissions reduction, environmental cleanup and other "green" initiatives, though others have no discernable climate-change-related purpose.
On Sunday, Extinction Rebellion plans to march down Commercial Drive and block traffic at the intersection of Commercial and Broadway.
Emberson said the disruptive protests are part of the tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience activists have employed for generations. From her perspective, less disruptive protests and activism have been unsuccessful.
"We're sorry for the disruption," Emberson said to those frustrated by the protests. "But this is the only way to change the system."