Turnout at the youth strike for climate change at the B.C. Legislature in May. (Black Press file photo)

Clash of protesters seen in Alberta unlikely to occur in Greater Victoria, says activist

Disagreement may be voiced but usually in a peaceful way

On June 28, a climate strike led by students in Edmonton was disrupted by another group of nearby Grade 12 students who had been taking graduation photos.

The climate strike group had booked the Alberta Legislature steps for the afternoon to protest several climate concerns. While one of the speakers was giving a land acknowledgement, the students taking grad photos came over and began shouting their support for pipelines to drown out the speaker’s words.

Next, a young man from the grad group came over to the speaker and tried to take the megaphone out of her hands. A protester from the crowd then jumped in and ran towards the student who was hassling the speaker. The police ended up taking the protester who stepped in into custody but they were eventually released without charges.

READ ALSO: Police respond to anti-SOGI protest in Oak Bay

Torrance Coste, environmental movement organizer with the local branch of the non-profit Wilderness Committee, says the protest scene here in Greater Victoria is very different from the current state in Alberta. Less people support the pipelines here, he says. There are those who disagree with the various protests that take place, but in general, people are more supportive here.

“Some may walk by or drive by in their Dodge Ram and yell, but not to the degree of the issue in Edmonton,” says Coste.

Wraven Sibbeston, an organizer with Rise and Resist, a local action group, and an “independent radicalizer of urban Indigenous youth,” agrees with Coste.

“The most rebuttal we get is honking,” he says.

READ ALSO: Pipeline protesters kick off march in Centennial Square

Coste feels it’s safer to voice your opinions here in Greater Victoria. The disagreement varies by subject matter — people here care more about the pipeline protests than old-growth forest rallies — but the dissent usually just involves some disapproving honking or a thumbs down, he says.

Coste has been on the other side of the situation. He and his fellow protesters attended a rally that was in favour of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, but their goal was “conversation, not confrontation.” They set up a booth outside the rally with a sign saying that they were opposed to the actions, not the workers, and that they were open to talking with the pro-pipeline folks.

“Security was very worried due to the tension,” he says. However, Coste had made an effort to explain to the anti-pipeline folks that there would be no chanting or “duelling” with the pro-pipeline group. The goal, he says, is to be understanding and to have a “zero-tolerance policy for harassment.”

READ ALSO: Trans Mountain pipeline protesters rally in Vancouver

The folks who disrupted the climate strike in Edmonton were teenagers and raised in an environment that supports that behaviour, he says.

“The response is usually overwhelmingly positive at events [in Victoria],” Coste explains. However, he does acknowledge that he’s a white man who has likely had different experiences than others in the city.

Sibbeston says he hasn’t encountered violence, but he is aware of someone who was injured at an anti-SOGI rally in Victoria.

“Class, power and privilege play into [the protest experience],” says Coste.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Climate changePoliceprotest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read