Vancouver Police arrested seven protesters who tried to stop traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge Monday, keeping the vital link to the North Shore open throughout the day.

“While we respect peoples’ democratic right to peacefully assemble and express their views, we also understand how frustrating and inconvenient it is for people trying to move around the city when roads and bridges are blocked,” says Sergeant Steve Addison, VPD. “The Lions Gate Bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure used by tens of thousands of people daily, including motorists, transit riders, and emergency services. Closing this bridge for any length of time would guarantee gridlock and could put lives at risk.”

Approximately 50 protesters gathered at noon today near the entrance of Stanley Park and told police they wanted to occupy the Lions Gate in support of their cause. VPD negotiators warned the group that they would be arrested if they blocked access to the bridge, and asked them to choose a different place to protest.

When the demonstrators insisted on marching toward the bridge, VPD officers walked and cycled beside them, confined them to the sidewalk, and prevented them from reaching the bridge deck.

While most protesters eventually agreed to exit Stanley Park and abandon their plans to block the bridge, five people who refused to leave the causeway were arrested and taken to jail.

Two additional protesters were arrested later in the evening for blocking traffic in the West End.