Climate protests have taken place in cities across Canada as part of a global movement

MONTREAL — Protesters gathered in cities across Canada on Friday to decry the government’s inaction in tackling climate change amid a series of global environmental protests.

MONTREAL — Protesters gathered in cities across Canada on Friday to decry the government’s inaction in tackling climate change amid a series of global environmental protests.

The events were part of the Fridays for Future movement inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

In Montreal, activists unfurled a red and yellow banner reading “Land Back” on the statue at the foot of Mount Royal ahead of what was billed as a class on decolonization and Indigenous sovereignty.

As a light rain fell, 21-year-old Ryder Cote-Nottaway, a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, urged those in attendance to protect the Earth for future generations.

He said climate change was impacting the ability of indigenous communities to exercise their “traditional, ancestral and inherent rights”.

“In my territory you see a lot of forestry, clearcutting,” he said in a sideline interview. “The animals, they are leaving. The rivers and waters are polluted.”

Dozens of other events were planned in cities across Canada, including Ottawa, Quebec, Calgary and Vancouver. Other climate events have taken place around the world, including some 300 in Germany alone.

Participants in the Canadian protests were there to denounce the role of colonialism and capitalism in contributing to climate change, but also more local issues, like the $6 billion highway expansion in Ontario and the government’s decision of Quebec to fence off endangered caribou herds.

In Montreal, the crowd was quite young and included many students, including 19-year-old Juliana Saroop. The Dawson College student said she sometimes feels “overwhelmed and paralyzed” about the climate crisis, but seeing the global protests makes her a bit more optimistic.

“There’s a big difference between individual and global change, and right now we’re trying to fight for a bigger change,” Saroop said.

In Ottawa, protesters carried signs that read “Don’t be a fossil fool” and “Every decision matters now.” Dozens of people turned out to support the climate protest, including one person in an oversized green dinosaur costume who posed for photos while carrying a sign that read ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’.

Protester Linda McCourt said she would like to see the government step up investment in the renewable energy sector.

“We should have done it already,” she said.

Organizer Sarah Scott said she was taking part in the climate strike because she was disappointed with the actions taken by different levels of government to tackle climate change. She said she was also concerned about the effect Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having on the climate through subsidies to oil markets.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 25, 2022.

— With files from Erika Ibrahim in Ottawa and the Associated Press.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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