You may not have heard much about it, but a recently formed group called On2Ottawa is in the middle of a three-week campaign of disruption in the country’s capital, agitating for the federal government to take stronger climate action.

Since arriving on Aug. 20, the group has blocked traffic in front of the Chateau Laurier hotel, the Laurier Avenue bridge over the Rideau Canal and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge between Ontario and Quebec. On Tuesday, a member of the group threw washable paint on a painting by Tom Thomson in the National Gallery of Canada.

Dylan Bugden.

Ottawa Police says 12 people have been charged with 36 criminal offences to date.

While the efficacy of such civil disobedience tactics is often debated in the media, they can have the desired effect, said Dylan Bugden, a professor in environmental sociology at Washington State University.

“Civil disobedience can work,” he said. “It works strongest, of course, among people who are already sympathetic [to the cause]. But it can move a small number of people towards that movement.”

Bugden cautioned that to be successful, the tactics should challenge those directly responsible for the problem protesters are trying to solve, such as governments or industries.

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CBC News