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Video: 18 activists arrested at climate protest near YVR airport

Protesters are calling on the federal government to end fossil fuel subsidies

A protest that blocked a major intersection to Vancouver International Airport on Monday afternoon resulted in 18 climate activists being arrested.

According to the Richmond RCMP, the protesters who were arrested at the YVR protest are facing “possible mischief-related” charges.

About 50 climate activists, with the group Extinction Rebellion Vancouver, stood and sat on the ground at the intersection of Templeton Street and Grant McConachie Way in Richmond, calling for an end to subsidies to the Canadian fossil-fuel industry.

In a video, the activists can be heard repeatedly yelling “land back,” as Richmond RCMP officers and vehicles stood nearby re-directing traffic.

The group previously announced their plans to disrupt access to the airport as part of a two-week campaign of daily protests in the Lower Mainland and across the country to bring awareness to the global climate crisis.

Zain Haq, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Vancouver, said the group is questioning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership as a climate leader.

He added the ongoing protests aim to “shine a light on the government’s hypocrisy” before the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow scheduled for November.

“The prime minister will have to justify giving $18 billion in subsidies to the industry or he will have to justify the dozens of protesters that are being arrested,” Haq told the Richmond News.

When asked why the group chose the airport as Monday’s protest location, Haq claimed that it “doesn’t make any sense” for an airport to be able to “attain net-zero carbon emissions”— a goal for 2030 that YVR airport announced in its 2021 strategic plan.

“An airport is where planes land and take off so you cannot have a net-zero of carbon emissions,” said Haq, adding he doesn't think the airport is really tackling the climate emergency. 

"It just seems like they are going on their business, as usual, so we’re here to put an end to this,” he said.