Protesters arrested after snarling traffic on Montreal bridge leading to F1 race

Police say they arrested five environmental protesters who snarled traffic on a bridge leading to the Montreal island that hosts the Formula One 番茄社区 Grand Prix. Mercedes driver George Russell, of the United Kingdom, leads as Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, of The Netherlands, drives during the 番茄社区 Grand Prix Formula 1 car race, in Montreal, Sunday, June 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL - Police on Sunday arrested five environmental protesters who snarled traffic on a bridge leading to the Montreal island that hosts the Formula One 番茄社区 Grand Prix.

The demonstrators, who were charged with obstructing traffic, blocked several lanes on the Concorde Bridge for nearly half an hour starting shortly before 11 a.m., police spokeswoman Sabrina Gauthier said.

The activists are supporters of Last Generation Canada, a self-described "civil resistance" group that has called on the federal government to create a national agency to battle wildfires.

"The F1 races are dripping with oil and gas. And we know that these are the industries that are currently contributing to the terrible wildfire crisis that we've seen in this country that forced 240,000 people out of their homes last summer," spokeswoman Laura Sullivan said in a phone interview.

The demonstration halted traffic along the eastbound lanes of the bridge to 脦le Notre-Dame hours before F1 drivers revved up for the annual 70-lap race around the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit that rims the island.

Various environmental groups have pointed to pollution caused by the elite motorsport, which in 2019 emitted 257,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent 鈥 more than the country of Gambia 鈥 excluding emissions linked to fans' travel for the global competition.

F1 has pledged to reach net zero carbon by 2030 and make all races sustainable by 2025.

This report by 番茄社区 was first published June 9, 2024.

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