Here in Madrid, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets Friday night to demand swift action to halt the climate crisis, as the 25th U.N. climate conference heads into its second week. Then, on Saturday, hundreds of activists with Extinction Rebellion blocked the emblematic shopping strip of Gran Vía by dancing disco in the middle of the street. This is protester Saúl Flores.
Saúl Flores: “We want them to say the truth about the climatical crisis. We want them to reduce the emissions of the gases to zero net by 2025. And we also want them to create citizenship assemblies. And now what we want is that we want that this is the last COP without results.”
And just as we went to broadcast today, eight activists staged a die-in in front of the COP protesting the presence of polluting corporations like Endesa — Spain’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter — at the U.N. climate summit. When Democracy Now! tried to interview the protesters, one crew member was manhandled by the Spanish police and threatened with arrest. The Spanish police also broke up a toxic tour on Saturday, where activists were calling attention to Endesa, Santander and other companies that either pollute or fund fossil fuel companies.
These protests come as tens of thousands more people in the Philippines were forced to evacuate their homes amid some of the worst flooding in decades. The monsoon rains have been intensified by Typhoon Kammuri, which hit the Philippines last week, killing at least 17 and forcing a half a million people to evacuate their homes. Increased rainfall and more powerful typhoons have been linked to climate change.
And in more climate news, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature warns climate change is driving the oxygen out of the oceans at an “unprecedented rate,” threatening many species of fish, including tuna, marlin and sharks.