Frustration is mounting on the ground in Copenhagen.
Yesterday, thousands of accredited NGO observers found out they would lose access to the Bella Center, where U.N. climate negotiations are taking place. This is amidst growing certainty that the negotiations will not make any significant progress in the fight against the climate crisis, let alone a treaty that is legally-binding or fair for the developing world.
Protests took place today outside of the Bella Center, the official site of the negotiations. A group of climate justice activists attempted to transform the Conference into a 'People's Assembly.'An estimated 3,000 activists marched toward the Bella Center but didn’t get far due to security perimeters, barricades and the sheer number of police.Police beat numerous activists and arrested around 250.Simultaneously, 300 people within the Bella Center marched out of the venue to demonstrate solidarity with people in the streets.
Later in the day came the most inspiring moment I've seen at the negotiations.During the opening of the high-level portion of the climate conference, a group of 30 youth activists from around the world staged a sit-in. For nine hours, they read aloud the names of over 11 million people who signed a petition calling fora fair, ambitious and legally-binding treaty to combat climate change. They were threatened by security many times, even physically dragged across the floor, but refused to leave until negotiators reached a fair, ambitious and legally-binding agreement.
After they were threatened with arrest and the U.N. Secretariat said their arrest could jeopardize access to the negotiations for the remaining few accredited NGO observers, the youth reluctantly decided to take their message outside to the streets. As they left the Bella Center, the youth promised more to come.
Check out the live blog of the sit-in, including photos, videos and news coverage.