F1 environmental protest in MontrealF1 environmental protest in Montreal (@lastgencanada / X)

The Formula One Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal faced an unexpected disruption today as environmental protesters targeted accessibility to the event. The protest, aimed at drawing attention to climate issues, caused significant traffic delays on the Concorde Bridge leading to Île Notre-Dame.

Arrests and Traffic Disruption

Montreal police arrested five environmental activists from Last Generation Canada, a group known for its civil resistance efforts. The protesters blocked several lanes on the Concorde Bridge, one of the main access points to the Grand Prix venue, for approximately 20 minutes starting around 11 a.m. Police spokeswoman Sabrina Gauthier confirmed the arrests, stating that the individuals were charged with obstructing traffic.

Goals of the Protest

Last Generation Canada has been vocal about their demands for the federal government to establish a national agency dedicated to combating wildfires and to organize citizens’ assemblies focused on addressing the climate crisis. The group emphasized the urgency of their cause in a statement released after the incident.

“BREAKING! 5 LAST GENERATION CANADA SUPPORTERS ARRESTED FOR DISRUPTING THE CONCORDE BRIDGE LEADING TO THE GRAND PRIX,” the group declared. “While F1 fans were waiting to get into an event dripping in fossil fuels, our boreal forest is being decimated.”

Impact on the Grand Prix

The protest occurred just hours before the start of the 70-lap race at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, a highlight of the F1 calendar. Fans faced delays and increased security measures as they made their way to the event. Despite the disruption, the race proceeded as scheduled, but the incident has sparked discussions about the intersection of sports and environmental activism.

Voices from the Protest

Marie Jane Poirier, a student at Concordia University and one of the protesters, expressed her motivations: “I recognize that this action may seem crazy to some people. But in the greater scheme of things, when you look at the future we’re currently facing due to the climate crisis, actions like these are not scary to think about.”

Increased Security and Traffic Advisory

In response to the protest, Montreal police have heightened security measures and advised attendees to expect potential delays and detours when accessing the event. The Concorde Bridge has been cleared and traffic has resumed, but authorities remain vigilant for any further disruptions.

Last Generation Canada’s Message

The protest by Last Generation Canada highlights the growing tension between high-profile events and environmental activism. The group’s demands for more robust climate action and their dramatic tactics aim to keep the climate crisis in the public eye, especially during globally watched events like the F1 Grand Prix.

Looking Ahead

As environmental issues continue to gain prominence, the intersection of activism and large-scale events like the F1 Grand Prix may become more common. Authorities and event organizers will need to balance security and accessibility with the right to protest, ensuring both safety and freedom of expression.