Political leaders including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson are weighing in on a climate action protest that shut down major thoroughfares across Canada, including in Edmonton, on Monday.
A demonstration led by the environmental group Extinction Rebellion shut down traffic on Edmonton's Walterdale Bridge from 7 a.m. to just after 8 a.m.
Drivers caught up in the protest shouted their frustration to the group of protesters, which didn't budge.
Police were eventually called in to try to diffuse tensions and negotiate with the protest group to have it disperse.
Several political leaders were incredulous that it took place, with Kenney sending out a tweet minutes after the protest wrapped up.
"This AM, protestors are blocking the Walterdale bridge, delaying commute for hundreds in Edmonton trying to get to work & take kids to school," Kenney said. "Somehow this is all supposed to be in the name of environment, but hundreds of are now idling unnecessarily as they wait backed up."
This AM, protestors are blocking the Walterdale bridge, delaying commute for hundreds in Edmonton trying to get to work & take kids to school.
Somehow this is all supposed to be in the name of environment, but hundreds of cars are now idling unnecessarily as they wait backed up. https://t.co/kk724bzqOX
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson had similar sentiments, saying he rode his bike in anticipation of the protests.
"I know that it was very, very disruptive and that a lot of motorists who were unaware were inconvenienced considerably this morning," he said. "So obviously that's very concerning."
He thanked police for resolving the situation earlier than protesters had wanted.
"As I understand, this protest is part of a larger global coordinated effort to disrupt cities all over the globe," said Iveson. "While I respect people's rights to make their point, I think there are limitations on disruption to a community and I'm afraid that, like many people, the irritation of the disruption is significant."
Coun. Tim Cartmell also called the protest "frustrating and disappointing" in a tweet.
"EPS was able to negotiate an early end to the protest and dispersed traffic from the area quickly," said Cartmell. "But this protest prevented so many of us from getting to work, school, childcare, medical appointments, etc."
He called on EPS to take "appropriate action" to hold protesters responsible and make sure there wouldn't be a repeat event.October 7, 2019
Coun. Aaron Paquette also sounded off on Twitter, saying the blockade was an "ineffective way to win people over" to the cause.
"I understand where protesters are coming from, absolutely," he wrote. "They feel no one is listening and that their issue needs heightened attention. I get it. Yellow vests to environmentalists. The attn garnered is seen as a win. It’s not. It just pushes hearts away from the message."
An ineffective way to win people over to your way of thinking? Blockades w/ no warning so folks worry about their jobs, about getting to a health appointment, endanger those in possible emergency situations etc.
Remember the Convoy?
Think of others, pls#yeg #yegcc #walterdale
I attended Idle No More protests in 2012/13.
It was a movement that went worldwide and gave people a voice and a positive influence they are still using today.
The goal was not attention.
The goal was connection.
He compared Monday's protests to the Idle No More protests in 2012-13, calling them a global movement that gave people a voice.
"The goal was not attention. The goal was connection. That matters," he wrote.
Nobody was arrested or charged at the scene but police say they are still investigating and criminal charges could be laid at a later date.