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Greta Thunberg rally is crashed by counter-protest led by truck convoy of oil and gas workers

Greta Thunberg joined thousands of protesters marching in Canada’s energy heartland Alberta yesterday as a smaller counter-rally led by a truck convoy of oil and gas workers also converged on the provincial capital Edmonton.

A crowd of several thousand led by indigenous drummers with students, young people and families marched slowly from a downtown intersection towards the Alberta legislature building. 

Many held banners and signs with slogans including ‘be a better ancestor’. Police rode on bicycles at the front and back of the throng.

‘We cannot allow this crisis to continue to be a partisan, political question,’ Thunberg said in a speech before thousands of people on the steps of the provincial legislature.

‘The climate and ecological crisis is far beyond party politics and the main enemy right now should not be any political opponents, because our main enemy is physics.’

Greta Thunberg joined thousands of protesters marching against climate change in Canada’s energy heartland Alberta yesterday

Climate change activists and counter-protesters supporting the oil and gas industry clash at the Alberta Legilature Building in Edmonton

Climate change activists and counter-protesters supporting the oil and gas industry clash at the Alberta Legilature Building in Edmonton

High school students stand around a vandalized poster of Canadian president Justin Trudeau during the march yesterday

High school students stand around a vandalized poster of Canadian president Justin Trudeau during the march yesterday

‘We are doing this because our future is at stake,’ Thunberg told the crowd.

‘We will not be bystanders. We are doing this because we want the people in power to unite behind science.

But a counter-protester said: ‘We care for the environment, of course we do. What they need to understand is that we’re hurting and we also need to care about Alberta jobs.’

The honking horns of big rig trucks blared from a nearby thoroughfare, where vehicles emblazoned with ‘We love Canada energy’ signs were driving up and down. 

‘When they charged their iPhones last night, that power came from this plant,’ he said, pointing to the former coal-fired Keephills power plant near Edmonton that was being converted to natural gas.

‘Albertans and Canadians are practical people,’ he said. ‘They like real world solutions. Calling for the end of the modern industrial economy, advocating to put millions of people out of work… is not a real world solution.’

But climate protester Bridget Gutteridge-Hingston, 13, who marched with her father, said: ‘I came out to show support for Greta and everyone fighting against the climate crisis.

‘It’s something I’m definitely scared of,’ she said.

The truck convoy organised by pro-oil group United We Roll drove from the city of Red Deer to Edmonton on Friday morning to protest against what the group called foreign activists campaigning against Canada’s oil and gas industry.

‘Richer countries such as Canada and Sweden need to get down to zero emissions much faster so people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building the infrastructure we have already built,’ Thunberg told a cheering crowd, which organizers estimated was 10,000-strong, from the steps of the Alberta legislature building.

Many held banners and signs with slogans including 'be a better ancestor'. Police rode on bicycles at the front and back of the throng

Many held banners and signs with slogans including ‘be a better ancestor’. Police rode on bicycles at the front and back of the throng

Alberta is home to Canada's vast oil sands and holds the world's third-largest crude reserves, but has struggled to recover from the 2014-15 global oil price crash

Alberta is home to Canada’s vast oil sands and holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves, but has struggled to recover from the 2014-15 global oil price crash

The truck convoy organised by pro-oil group United We Roll drove from the city of Red Deer to Edmonton Friday morning to protest against what the group called foreign activists campaigning against Canada's oil and gas industry

The truck convoy organised by pro-oil group United We Roll drove from the city of Red Deer to Edmonton Friday morning to protest against what the group called foreign activists campaigning against Canada’s oil and gas industry

‘We’re not doing this because it’s fun or because we have a special interest in the climate or because we want to become politicians when we grow up. We’re doing this because our future is at stake,’ the Swedish activist said.

The truck horns sounded in the distance throughout Thunberg’s speech and there were around 150 counter-protesters in the crowd. 

After she left the stage shouting broke out between pro-energy demonstrators, armed with a noisy bull horn and yelling ‘We need oil and gas’, and climate marchers.

Alberta is home to Canada’s vast oil sands and holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves, but has struggled to recover from the 2014-15 global oil price crash because of delays building new export pipelines as a result of environmental opposition and regulatory hold-ups.

Many energy sector workers and the Alberta government feel the oil sands, scorned by environmentalists for their high carbon emissions intensity, have been unfairly targeted and say the sector is making progress cutting greenhouse gas output.

Friday's march, organized by indigenous and environmental groups, came as Canada prepares for a tight federal election Monday

Friday’s march, organized by indigenous and environmental groups, came as Canada prepares for a tight federal election Monday

High school students lie on the ground as they protest in front of the Canadian prime minister's campaign office in Montreal

High school students lie on the ground as they protest in front of the Canadian prime minister’s campaign office in Montreal

Thunberg has mobilised a global youth movement against climate change. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he hoped she would take a 'fair and objective look' at Alberta's energy sector

Thunberg has mobilised a global youth movement against climate change. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he hoped she would take a ‘fair and objective look’ at Alberta’s energy sector

A protester holds up a homemade banner depicting the teenage activist Greta Thunberg at the protests in Edmonton

A protester holds up a homemade banner depicting the teenage activist Greta Thunberg at the protests in Edmonton

A 2018 study by Stanford University researchers ranked the Canadian oil industry’s upstream emissions as the fourth most carbon-heavy in the world.

The energy sector provides 150,000 direct jobs in Alberta and contributes more than C$71 billion ($54.1 billion) annually to the gross domestic product of Canada, the world’s fourth-largest oil and gas producer.

Thunberg has mobilised a global youth movement against climate change. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he hoped she would take a ‘fair and objective look’ at Alberta’s energy sector.

Friday’s march, organized by indigenous and environmental groups, came as Canada prepares for a tight federal election Monday in which climate change and the future of the oil and gas sector are hot topics.

Last month, Thunberg met privately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following a massive rally in Montreal. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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