UPDATE: Highway camping, blocking streets and fake blood: Extinction Rebellion's next Kelowna protest | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Highway camping, blocking streets and fake blood: Extinction Rebellion's next Kelowna protest

Kelowna had a die in Sept.20 for the Global Climate Strike.
October 12, 2019 - 6:00 PM

Ana Ciocoiu hates having to disrupt others as they go about their daily business, but she’s come to realize it’s the only way to make them sit up and pay attention.

“It’s been proven to be more effective,” she said. “(Disruption) generates more interest than a quiet walk along the sidewalk — just look at the rebellion that happened this week in the UK. They’ve had crazy attention.”

Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Smithfield market as well as several roads in Westminster were blockaded by activists there. Cities in other countries around the world, including Vancouver, were similarly slowed by Extinction Rebellion as they moved onto bridges and stymied traffic.

And all of them have made headlines.

As they ramp up their activism, they're considering new forms of creative civil disobedience. Among the list of options for imposing chaos: swarming traffic, camping on the highway with tents, blocking all of Water Street in front of City Hall and fake blood.

Last week, the die-in Ciocoiu led in the middle of Bernard Avenue during the climate strike gained more attention than most protests do in the Okanagan but they stopped short of a plan to block the W.R. Bennett bridge fearing liability in case emergency vehicles need to more through. Now they have more time to plan.

Those behind these acts of civil disobedience aren’t letting up.

Extinction Rebellion in the Okanagan and elsewhere will continue pulling out all the stops needed to get governments onside in dealing with the climate crisis, and legally commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.

Following a recent meeting where a Nov. 16 protest was tentatively scheduled, they discussed the most effective means to turn heads.

While some of the options may sound serious, Ciocoiu said it’s probably going to be a “party in the street” — party that’s eye-catching and gets the message about the impending climate crisis large in the imagination of the public and politicians.

“I can’t say whether I will make a difference,” Ciocoiu said of her efforts to pull off another protest with impact. “But it’s on me to do my best to make a difference. It’s something I will live with for my whole life, so this is us doing the best we can to get people to act on this on now.”

In recent days that’s led her to City Hall, where she and Adam Frank of Kelowna Climate Save met with Coun. Loyal Woodridge to lobby for the city to declare a climate emergency.

“Loyal was great — he’s super motivated and eager to help out and so he’s trying to convince (the rest of council) to declare an emergency,” she said.

They would also like to see a climate emergency task force take share. The idea of would be for the city to fund it and citizens with different backgrounds and from different agencies come up with a concrete plan for reducing Kelowna’s emissions.

“It’s good in theory,” she said, acknowledging that it may never come to fruition.

Plans for the Nov. 29 protest are also coming together.

"Post election, we find that it is important now more than ever to get our message across (Canada-wide), so we are doing our part in Kelowna. We have had meetings with City Council since September: the City does not want to declare a climate emergency or begin implementing better policies, citing its factually incorrect and misleading 'climate plan' as the reason," reads an update about the event.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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