The Legislature lawns and the the intersection of Belleville and Government streets have been filling with protesters since 11 a.m. this morning.
Hundreds of students walked out of class to attend a group “die-in” at the B.C. Legislature, before the Extinction Rebellion rally began at the busy intersection at 2 p.m. People plan on remaining in the area until 10 p.m. to complete an 11-hour protest to represent 11 years– the amount of time leading scientists say people have to make significant changes to combat the most dramatic effects of climate change.
Both events are acting as a kick off to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action, which will see continued downtown protests throughout the week.
Climate action advocates young and old brought in creative signs, face paint, costumes and microphones to speak on the importance of immediate climate action. Sage was burned on scene for group smudges, and environmental activists and First Nations representatives spoke to the crowd.
For Grade 8 student Abby Henry, who by now is a climate rally pro, attending these events is about ensuring her own future.
“I’ve always dreamed of having a nice life before I knew anything about climate change, and now that future is being taken away, ” Henry said. “Fighting for this is my life now.”
Kamilla O’Brian, Grade 8, felt that the presence of the crowd had the potential to bring about positive change.
“I feel that if we all come together and we protest that we can wake up other people and maybe they’ll understand what we’re fighting for, ” O’Brian said.
Violet Williams, a member of the K’ómoks First Nation, spoke to the crowd about the need for foresight.
“I’m here for the seven generations ahead of me, because someone seven generations ago was planning for me,” Williams said. “My spirits have been lifted so much to see all the people who came out here today.”
Traffic will be affected as the rally continues into the evening.
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