Monday night’s closure of the Johnson Street Bridge did not disrupt emergency services in Victoria, despite roughly 250 people blocking traffic for roughly two hours.
Fatima Siddiqui, a Communications Officer with BC Emergency Health Services, explained that EMS teams are used to working around large events, such as parades, marathons, and civil disobedience. “We’ve got a dynamic system,” Siddiqui said. “We have access to more roads than average cars.”
Other motorists were not so lucky.
I was forced to idle my SUV on the Bay Street Bridge for 20 mins because of these wankers. I support strong action against climate change but these bozos dont speak for me.
— Sean Roberts (@Shingies) December 4, 2018
At its’ height, the rally had more than 200 people participating, forcing rush hour traffic to be diverted. The protest was in solidarity with other climate action protests happening around world in conjunction with the annual UN climate change meeting in Poland.
The Victoria Police Department was aware that traffic may be affected, warning the public to expected heavier traffic on Dec. 2 during the expected 12-minute closure.
NOTICE | Traffic disruptions are expected Monday afternoon -approx 1730 to 1830 – during an anticipated protest on the Johnson Street Bridge #yyjtraffic | https://t.co/uIrrpAZXFY . The anticipated protest is not about the bridge itself. #F1853893
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) December 3, 2018
Keith Cherry helped organize the protest, and was dismissive of traffic congestion caused by the event.
“The extra emissions generated by idling cars against the ongoing fossil fuel expansion being pursued by our governments, they would see that the balance of convenience is pretty clearly on the side of the grassroots demonstrators,” Cherry said.
Patrick Ferguson, a Victoria resident who works in the oil and gas industry, expressed mixed feelings regarding the rally.
“I agree with the message, just not the method. Inconveniencing soccer-moms and hockey-dads isn’t going to change anything,” Ferguson said, adding that he’d like too see government take a more active role in building green infrastructure, especially if it creates green jobs for current energy workers.
“If we could have BC Solar as a company I could work for, I’d do it.”
Six people were arrested before the bridge was allowed to reopen at approximately 8 p.m. Reports on the event’s Facebook page say all six were released the same evening.