Drivers blocked by old growth protesters on Lions Gate Bridge Wednesday morning (June 22) got into an ugly altercation with protesters on the bridge deck.
Drivers who had been prevented from crossing the bridge during rush hour around 7:30 a.m. got out of their cars and began giving two protesters who had parked a van across both lanes of traffic a piece of their minds.
One man who said he was an “old growth logger” ripped a protest sign from the side of the van and shoved one of the protesters. “I’ve been in the logging trade all my life. You don’t know how the world works,” he said.
One woman told protesters they weren’t helping win public sympathy with their actions.
“You’re angering people," she said. “No one’s going to leave here going ‘Let’s support these guys.’ You’re pissing us off.”
Another driver raised his fists above his head while yelling, “Who gives a shit about climate change?” adding, “You’ve made your picture, you’ve made your point. Now get the f*** out of here.”
Two old growth protesters, including one man from North Vancouver, were arrested for mischief and “intimidation by blocking a roadway” by Vancouver Police after officers arrived on the scene.
It’s not the first time logging protesters have disrupted bridge traffic on the North Shore.
Traffic was disrupted on Highway 1 in West Vancouver June 14 when three protesters blocked the westbound lane near the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, gluing themselves to the road.
On June 13, another protest by the Save Old Growth group blockaded the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing, while a simultaneous protest also blocked off the Massey Tunnel.
Three protesters were arrested for the Ironworkers protest but were released from custody after agreeing not to deliberately block or impede traffic on any roadway in B.C.
Ben Holt, a 52-year-old computer programmer and North Vancouver resident, was one of the protesters arrested by police in both the recent Horseshoe Bay and Lions Gate Bridge blockades.
Holt recently told the North Shore News he understands the frustration his actions cause drivers, but said he feels he has little choice if he wants to draw attention to the cause of stopping old growth logging.
Holt said the protests get attention – which is more than writing petitions and acting within the political system have done.
“I would ask the public, before they get out of their car and confront people, to take a few deep breaths – think about what they're doing. And think about why the protesters are out there,” he said.
With files from Alanna Kelly