A new environmental protest group says they deflated the tires of 34 SUVs in Oak Bay and Victoria as part of a campaign with the ultimate goal of eliminating the large vehicles from urban areas.
The group called “Tyre Extinguishers” says this was their first act in Western Canada with more planned down the line, according to their website. The group adds it’s part of a worldwide organization, with similar incidents being reported in cities in the UK, multiple countries in Europe and, more recently, in the U.S. and in Kitchener, Ont. in July.
“Some say ‘this will just make people angry with no impact, you won’t win anyone to your side,’ but history does not bear this out: direct action works, and places where Tyre Extinguishers are active have seen reduced sales of SUVs without harming anyone,” the group says in a statement on their website.
The group says the Victoria and Oak Bay incidents took place on July 28 during the night and into the early hours of July 29, which was later confirmed by Oak Bay Police.
“We know some people will be frustrated, upset, and/or angry at us. Unfortunately, we do not have any time to waste in reducing our emissions. The people whose tires we have deflated will be inconvenienced, but ultimately, will be able to get around by using public transit, walking, or cycling like so many other residents of Victoria and Oak Bay do,” the group says.
No injuries were reported related to incidents in Victoria, but VicPD is still investigating and confirming how many cars had their tires deflated in the city, according to spokesperson Bowen Osoko. Osoko said there was one report filed as of last night.
“If someone doesn’t see the low or flat tire, driving on a partially deflated, or deflated tire is actually very dangerous,” he said in an email.
In Oak Bay, there were nine vehicles in total that had their tires deflated, according to Oak Bay Police Sgt. Kirstin Stuart.
Two of the vehicles were in the 500-block of Victoria Avenue, four were in the 1100-block of Hampshire Road, and there were incidents in the 2000-block of Quimper Street, the 2000-block of McLaren Avenue, and in the 900-block of Falkland Road.
The investigation is ongoing and police are asking anyone with video surveillance in the area or who may have information to contact Oak Bay Police or Crime Stoppers, Stuart added in an email.
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