Tens Of Thousands Protest in London Before Copenhagen Summit

Demonstrators want world leaders to reach tough new deal on cutting emissions

Climate demonstrators in central London, 05 Dec 2009
Climate demonstrators in central London, 05 Dec 2009
Jennifer Glasse

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through London demanding action at this week's Copenhagen Climate Conference.  Their ultimate message was to get world leaders to reach a tough new deal on cutting emissions. 

It had the feeling of a street party, but this crowd of demonstrators gathered in central London had a more serious message.

This demonstrator named Trish, explains. "We want our government and the governments of the world in Copenhagen to make real commitment to change of at least 50 percent in the carbon emissions. Otherwise we will reach our target of two degrees in the next year or so and that would mean disaster for our children and our grandchildren most of all for the poor who are  living now with climate change," she said.

Most people were dressed in blue to create the illusion of a human wave around the houses of Parliament.  Etienne Stott said he came because he wanted to show he cares about climate change. "A lot of people here believe it, I think around the world a lot of people believe in taking action against climate change. And, the more people who stand up and show that they think this is an important thing, the better."

US President Barack Obama will go to the Copenhagen summit on the conference's last scheduled day.

Hillary Griffiths, with Charity Friends of the Earth says the president's appearance is crucial. "China won't do anything if America doesn't do anything and India won't do anything if China won't do anything, so it's just vitally important that America is seen up there to be doing something," she said.

Demonstrator Mike Smythe believes it's all up to the politicians. "Ultimately this is a political issue, it needs a political solution, what individuals can do is comparatively limited, but as individuals we do what we can, we do our utmost to reduce our own carbon footprint," he said.

Chris Bain helped organize the event. He says he's feeling better about next week's conference. "I'm not pessimistic as I was a week ago . I think there will be some good things coming, but it will be the start, rather than the end of a good deal," he said.

The demonstration was so large, that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown invited Bain and a few other organizers to meet with him at his office, number 10 Downing Street, where they planned to repeat their message that they want action at Copenhagen. 

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