Protesters took it to a new level today in Copenhagen. A reported 100,000 people marched from Denmark's Parliament building to the COP15 with more than 900 of them getting arrested along the way.
Taking It To The Streets
Operation Copenhagen rolls with the masses on Day 2
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! Something wild happened on the way to the Bella Center today. While things were relatively quiet at the COP15, it was anything but in the streets of Copenhagen. Tens of thousands of protesters from around the world gathered in front of Denmark’s Parliament building throughout the morning with designs on making the nearly 5 mile hike to the climate change conference’s headquarters at the Bella Center and letting conference delegates know just how disappointed they are in the current track the negotiations are taking. Several hours and a few police stand offs later, most of them had made it save for the 900 or so that were arrested along the way.
By Kodiak Greenwood
The scene outside of the Parliament Building late morning on Saturday. This was before the real crowds showed up.
As the two-week conference wrapped up for the day and officially concluded its first week, the streets around the center were electric with protest- large fires burning in the middles of some roads, music blasting, beer flowing and the occasional shouts of “Revolution!” ringing out in the cold December night.
Operation Copenhagen was on the scene bright and early, making it to the square in front of the Parliament building before most of the crowds arrived. Bundled against the cold and waiting things out on a near-by bridge, a group of Japanese tourists hoping to see some protesters while on holiday had also showed up early. Upon seeing us they figured the action was about to begin. Regretfully, I informed them that I was a man of words, a professional journalist from the great state of California. They found this funny and one of them, smiling wildly and laughing at me, responded, “But you look like activist. Are you sure you are no activist?”
One of many faces in the crowd on Saturday. Protesters came from all over the world to let conference delegates know that climate change, to them, is a social justice issue.
Mistaken identities aside, the real thing was not very far away and soon the tourist ate his words as a “flood” of some 3,000 people wearing blue ponchos swarmed the square in front of Parliament(The location had a great deal of historical relevance going for it as it was the place where, in June of 1849, mobs of disillusioned working class Danish people assembled to call out King Fredrick VII and demand a piece of the leadership pie.). The swarming blue meanies were part of Friends of the Earth International and they were there to demand climate justice and, more specifically, to call bullshit on the notion of carbon offsetting- a popular method being explored by the COP15 that allows big polluting countries like the U.S. to achieve target reduction goals by paying for carbon credits from smaller, less polluting and often less financially endowed countries.
By Kodiak Greenwood
Organizers and police tried to control the crowds along the way. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.
This is one of those moments when authorities weren’t really in control.