MONTREAL -- Quebecers across the province took part in a Canada-wide demonstration to demand action be taken against climate change Friday.

Activists said they want to #uprootthesystem and "demand for intersectional climate justice."

"I had really just been focusing on my own personal carbon footprint, my family, my school, but I saw that really what we need is to unite our voices to demand action from the people who can make a real difference -- from our political leaders and from large companies," said Shirley Barnea with Pour le Futur Montreal.

The youth-led and organized global climate strike movement started in August 2018 when then-15-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg started a school strike for the climate.

Soon joined by her peers, "they created the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, and encouraged other young people all over the world to join them. This marked the beginning of the global school strike for climate," the organization notes.

"Their call for action sparked an international awakening, with students and activists uniting around the globe to protest outside their local parliaments and city halls," the group explains. "Along with other groups across the world, Fridays for Future is part of a hopeful new wave of change, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis."

THREE ARRESTS

The Montreal police (SPVM) confirmed that three people were arrested during the protest, one for mischief, one for assault of a police officer and another for making threats.

"So three arrests were made by the Montreal Police Department side, no one was injured, and at this moment the protest is now over," said SPVM spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant.

WHAT THEY WANT

The group's message to political leaders includes asking:

  • The Global North to cut emissions drastically by divesting from fossil fuels and ending its extraction, burning and use.
  • "Colonizers of the north" pay their climate debt for their historic emissions.
  • For genuine global recovery from COVID-19 by ensuring equitable vaccine distribution and suspending intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 technologies.
  • To recognize the tangibility of the climate crisis as a risk to human safety and secure the rights of climate refugees in international law.
  • To recognize the impact of biodiversity on Indigenous communities.
  • To stop violence and criminalization of Indigenous peoples, small farmers, small fisherfolk and other environmental and land defenders.

"Canada has such disproportionately large emissions compared to our population and such large historic emissions as well," Barnea states. "We're asking for Canada to be carbon neutral by 2030 to allow other countries to develop and reduce their emissions at a pace that is more comfortable."

POLITICIANS IN ATTENDANCE

Both the Quebec Liberals (PLQ) and Parti Québécois (PQ) have said they plan to attend the marches.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade, as well as "numerous" members of her party, will be in Montreal Friday.

The demonstration is set to take place starting at the Sir George Etienne-Cartier Monument at 1 p.m.

The PQ says it will have politicians in attendance at marches in Alma, Joliette and Quebec City.

Jonquière representative Sylvain Gaudreault will take part in the demonstration in Alma, which starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Green Plains behind the Mario-Tremblay Centre.

Joliette MNA Véronique Hivon will be at the march in Lanaudière, set to start at 12 p.m. at CEGEP régional de Lanaudière.

PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is expected to join those demonstrating in Quebec City starting at 1 p.m. from Place d'Youville.