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Charges dropped against 20 climate protesters who blocked Toronto bridge

Last Updated Nov 18, 2019 at 4:13 pm EDT

Climate change protesters block the Bloor Street Viaduct during the morning commute on Oct. 7, 2019. CITYNEWS

TORONTO — Prosecutors have dropped charges against 20 protesters who blocked a key Toronto bridge as part of international climate demonstrations last month.

Crown attorneys told a Toronto court today it would not be in the public interest to pursue criminal charges against the protesters, who blocked the Bloor Viaduct for several hours on Oct. 7 as part of an international movement to spur urgent government action on climate change.

Some of the accused had expressed frustration at being charged for engaging in what they and police have described as a peaceful protest.

The Toronto chapter of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion said at the time of the demonstration that impeding traffic was a necessary, if disruptive, tactic.

Similar protests also took place in Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver and other Canadian cities, while some European cities saw hundreds of people turn up for protests.

One of the Toronto protesters wore a cow jumpsuit to today’s court appearance, while others removed plush cow and bull hats before the proceedings began as non-religious headwear is prohibited inside courtrooms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2019.

The Canadian Press