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2009-12-07

Ahead of Copenhagen Talks, Tens of Thousands Protest Across Europe Calling for Climate Justice

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While protests are expected to start later this week in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of people marched throughout Europe on Saturday calling on world leaders to reach an agreement to reduce emissions in Copenhagen. Protesters took to the streets in Belfast, Glasgow, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and London. The largest protest was in London, where organizers of the Stop Climate Chaos protest put the crowd total at 50,000. Participants in the march included Britain Climate and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, actor Peter Capaldi and former BBC weather presenter Michael Fish. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Here in Copenhagen, police have launched the largest police action in Denmark’s history. The New York Times reports an estimated $122 million is being spent to secure the city and fortify the Bella Center. The city of Copenhagen has turned an abandoned beer warehouse into a makeshift jail filled with three dozen steel cages, enough to hold some 350 prisoners.

Meanwhile, the Danish parliament has passed a law to allow the police to preemptively arrest and detain anyone for up to twelve hours who they believe is likely to break the law in the near future. The Danish police were also given the power to jail protesters for up to forty days if they’re charged with hindering the police.

While protests are expected to start later this week in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of people marched throughout Europe Saturday calling on world leaders to reach an agreement to reduce emissions here in Copenhagen. Protesters took to the streets in Belfast, Glasgow, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and London. The largest protest was in London, where organizers of the Stop Climate Chaos protest put the crowd total at about 50,000. Participants in the march included the former British Energy Secretary Ed Miliband and the former BBC weather presenter Michael Fish.

This is Ed Miliband.

    ED MILIBAND: I think this is a very vivid and powerful demonstration of people’s passion about this issue. And the truth is that the world has moved in the last year because people have said, “We care about this. This really matters to us.” That’s why the US, China, India have put their targets on the table in the last couple of weeks. We need this sort of people power in the coming two weeks to get the most ambitious deal we can at Copenhagen.

    PETER CABALDI: It’s our world. You know, we’re living in it. I have, you know, a child. I want that world — the child to live in a world where she can breathe the air and live in London, which isn’t under floodwater. You know, it’s going to happen one day, unless we begin to act.

    MICHAEL FISH: In a way, it’s too little, too late, because we’re locked into a scenario now, where we could well find the earth’s temperature going up by a couple of degrees. So we must do something to prevent it getting any worse. I’ve used for many years the expression that it’s the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. It is. There’s no doubt that millions of people may well have already died. And certainly, if we do nothing now, millions of people will die.

AMY GOODMAN: That was BBC weather presenter Michael Fish. Before that, the actor Peter Capaldi and the former British Energy Secretary Ed Miliband in London.

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