Skip to comments.Parliament protest ends; questions remain ( 19 Greenpeace 'activists' breach security, Canada)
Posted on 12/07/2009 11:46:09 AM PST by fanfan
Nineteen Greenpeace activists have been arrested after breaching security and climbing the roofs of two Parliament Hill buildings this morning to protest climate change.
But red-faced police and parliamentary security representatives have offered no explanation as to how the activists were able to so easily walk on to Parliament Hill laden with gear, scale the Centre Block and West Block buildings and unfurl large signs and banners.
Some of the protesters stayed atop the West block for almost three hours before they were removed and arrested.
Thats not something I can talk about right now, said RCMP spokeswoman Caroline Poulin, as the drama was unfolding. When asked by a reporter if she thought the Mounties should be embarrassed, Poulin replied there would be an investigation, but had no other comment.
Once atop the roofs at about 7:30 a.m., the activists unfurled banners and signs to protest what they consider a lack of action by Canada and other countries on climate change. The largest banners read: 'Harper/Ignatieff: Climate Inaction Costs Lives' in both English and French.
All 19 were arrested by RCMP and Ottawa police and have charges pending. No one was injured.
This isnt a little game, said Greenpeace spokeswoman Christy Ferguson. "This is about human survival and survival of the planet.
Ferguson said Greenpeaces recent efforts are focused on the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which began today. Canada is one of 192 nations taking part.
This is a wakeup call to leaders that Greenpeace will be active in Copenhagen, Ferguson added.
It will also be a "wakeup call" to those charged with security on Parliament Hill. The Centre Block and West Block buildings house many of the most important dignitaries and functions on the Hill. Ferguson said she wouldnt divulge how her people did it, citing trade secrets.
One group of five protesters headed for the Centre Block, where they climbed atop the Senate entrance. They hung a banner and signs before police erected a ladder, took down the signs and pulled the protesters away a short time later.
The second group used climbing gear to scale the West Block and hung huge, 10-metre long banners from the front of the building facing Wellington St.
A large crowd of spectators gathered during the height of the protest. No roads were closed, though a cordon of police reacting to the demonstration held spectators back near Wellington St.
Firefighters and police first removed the banners they had hung, and have now moved in to arrest the protesters. Several of them remained atop the building for more than two hours, including three climbers who hung over the front of the West Block suspended by ropes.
Ferguson, when pressed by Sun Media, admitted that Greenpeace does not conduct extensive background checks on members -- including the ones who involved in the actions on Parliament Hill this morning.
We do a lot of training and we get to know them well, she said. These are people we know and trust.
In addition to pushing for more action on climate change, the protesters were also seeking an end to oil sands development in Alberta.
A recent Greenpeace report concluded that climate change kills 300,000 people every year, and leads to economic losses worth $125-billion US.
Read the comments at the link, too.
I take it Parliament Hill is like our Capitol Hill?
OPINION: Someone’s job should be on the line for this absolutely, astounding security violation.
Thanks for the ping fanfan.
ON THE INTERNET:
I read several pages of comments.
This was is a money quote:
December 7th 2009, 11:21am
Terrorists attack Parliament Hill and the RCMP are sleeping at their post! Only in Canada would this be tolerated. Al-Qaeda take note.
Yes, it is.
You’re welcome, Cindy.