House of commons protest

27 youth banned from Canada's House of Commons after staging climate protest

A group of precocious Canadians have earned themselves a month-long ban from Parliament Hill in Ottawa after sneakily staging a sit-in during a visitors' tour.

A total of 27 people representing a youth organization called Our Time snuck into the House of Commons on Monday morning to ask that Canada's newly-elected MPs "come together, put partisan politics aside, and govern for a Green New Deal."

The climate-change activists accessed the site by joining a free tour, but halted mid-way through to sit down and "occupy" the parliamentary building.

"We have less than 10 years to stop irreversible damage to the planet," shouted one of the group's leaders as others unfurled yellow signs and sat down. "Are we just going to sit here and let our political leaders steal our future? We're not!"

A livestreamed video from the event shows demonstrators singing as their compatriots are escorted by security from the building — some of them dragged by their arms across the floor.

The protesters were cleared out within 15 minutes and all 27 were issued trespassing tickets, as well as 30-day bans from Parliament Hill.

"We brought 338 mandate letters — one for every MP in the house of commons," reads a statement on Our Time's website. "We want every MP to accept their letter and pledge to make a Green New Deal a top priority when the House resumes."

The protesters continued their demonstration offsite, chanting "I believe that we will win!" while jumping up and down holding signs with messages such as "Good work for all," "Our time to lead" and "Be brave."

Several took to Twitter and invited Members of Parliament to come by for copies of the mandate letter.

Their efforts paid off in at least one case, when NDP MP elect for Hamilton Centre, Matthew Green, came by to support the movement.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh voiced his support for the protest from afar via Twitter, writing late Monday morning that "we need to fight the climate crisis like we want to win."

"To young people across Canada demanding action: Our NDP caucus will be coming to Ottawa determined to fight for a #GreenNewDeal for climate action and a future that leaves no worker behind," he continued. "Count on us."

Lead photo by

Amara Possian

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