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Frustrated by Inaction, Youth Delegates Occupy COP 17 Plenary in Durban

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As the afternoon round of talks were scheduled to begin at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, delegates from some of the world’s most vulnerable countries joined Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, and more than 150 youth climate activists in occupying the main plenary. They continued to march throughout the conference center during our live broadcast. As security officers closed in on the protest, the Maldives environment minister, Mohamed Aslam, addressed the crowd. [includes rush transcript]

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

AMY GOODMAN: "An Ode to Kyoto," written and recorded by British medical students here in Durban, South Africa. It includes the lines: "Kyoto, we have been loving you too long for you to die here in Durban," and "I wanted something legally binding, now you tell me you’re unwinding." This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We’re broadcasting live from Durban, South Africa. I’m Amy Goodman.

As we broadcast right now, at least 150 youth briefly occupied the COP 17 plenary. They went inside, interrupted the meeting of world leaders and delegates, then marched on through other parts of the conference center. I want to go to a clip of the protest. Democracy Now!’s Hany Massoud just brought back this tape from the protest just yards from us.

PROTESTER: Mic check!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Mic check!

PROTESTER: Mic check!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Mic check!

PROTESTER: Shosholoza!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Shosholoza!

PROTESTER: Ku lezontaba!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Ku lezontaba!

PROTESTER: Africa!

PEOPLE’S MIC: Africa!

PROTESTERS: [singing] Shosholoza ku lezontaba!

PROTESTER: [echoed by People’s Mic] Mic check! We are here today for Africa! We are here today for the island nations! We are here today for the world, to say, "Listen to the people, not the polluters!

Mic check! I am here with Mr. Mohamed Aslam, who is representing the Maldives! Mic check!

Go ahead. Say what you need to say. Shortened statements.

MOHAMED ASLAM: [echoed by People’s Mic] You need to save us. The islands can’t sink. We have our rights. We have a right to live. We have a right for home. You can’t decide our destiny. We will have to be saved.

AMY GOODMAN: The Maldives [environment minister], Mohamed [Aslam], representing one of the lowest-lying islands in the world, addressing the more than 150 protesters who are now marching through the conference center of the U.N. Conference on Climate Change here in Durban, South Africa.

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