Over 200 people risked arrest as part of the largest climate-related civil disobedience action in Canadian history

OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - More than 200 people risked arrest on Parliament Hill today in the largest climate-related civil disobedience action in Canadian history. Over 100 participants were released with a trespassing ticket.

"Today's protest was a turning point when people in Canada from coast to coast to coast stood together against the tar sands and for a clean energy future that promotes climate justice," said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada who was arrested on the Hill. "The movement against the tar sands and Harper's reckless agenda will continue to grow as long as our government ignores its responsibilities to protect our environment and our communities and continues to be the mouthpiece for the destructive tar sands industry."

"The action on parliament hill was a true blue and green event," said Maude Barlow with the Council of Canadians. "Today, labour, environmental and Indigenous leaders stood together to push this government to turn away from the tar sands and towards a green energy future."

Those arrested included Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians), David Coles (CEP), Tony Clarke (Polaris Institute), Keith Stewart (Greenpeace) and George Poitras (former Chief of the Mikisew Cree). People came from all walks of life and regions in Canada to participate in the Ottawa action against the tar sands. Among the 200 people arrested, the youngest was 19 years old and the oldest was 84. The group was tremendously diverse and included a social worker, a plumber, a biologist, an organic farmer, a doctor, a student, a stay at home parent, and many others.  Participants came from almost every province and territory.

Hundreds of others stood in support of those risking arrest at a solidarity rally that continued throughout the day.

"What we saw today is that concern about the impact the tar sands is having on land, air, water and communities spans generations, cultures and social backgrounds," said Clayton Thomas Mueller with the Indigenous Environmental Network. "Native communities should not be sacrifice zones. The people of Fort Chipewyan deserve justice and we deserve a future that prioritizes the health of our environment and all our communities."

The rally and the civil disobedience remained peaceful through the day-long event on the Hill. The main message of today's action is to urge Prime Minister Harper to turn away from a destructive tar sands industry and start building a green energy future that promotes climate justice, respects Indigenous rights and prioritizes the health of the environment and communities.

Notes: The website ottawaaction.ca includes up-to-date pictures and HD video of the action and interviews with participants from the September 26 action.


For further information:

  • Peter McHugh (English), Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada, 416.524.8496 pmchugh@greenpeace.org
  • Mike Hudema (English), Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, 780.504.5601 mike.hudema@greenpeace.org
  • Andrea Harden-Donahue (English), Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner, Council of Canadians, 613.233.4487 x240 aharden@canadians.org
  • Clayton Thomas-Mueller (English), Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), 613.297.7515 monsterredlight@gmail.com
  • Daniel Cayley-Daoust (français), Public Education and Outreach Coordinator, The Polaris Institute, 819.593.4579 - daniel@polarisinstitute.org

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