785,000 people in 2,300 cities in 175 countries marched in demonstrations against climate change on Sunday 29 November, the day before the Paris climate summit started, according to the organisation 350.org. This was the biggest ever climate mobilisation. If the demonstration in Paris had not been banned the total would been over one million.
29 November marked the mass demand for a green future and a shining sun in a world dominated by headlines of war, acts of terrorism, and where dangerous emissions and the global temperature are constantly increasing.
In Australia, 140.000 demonstrated, of which 60 000 in Melbourne. 33,000 marched in New Zealand, 140,000 in India, and 50,000 in London. 20,000 marched in Rome and Madrid, 10,000 in Copenhagen, 5,000 in Geneva, etc. In Sweden, 4,000 marched in Stockholm and Gothenburg respectively, and 1,200 in stormy weather in Malmö. In Stockholm, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden) organised an anti-capitalist bloc on the demonstration.
In all of France, demonstrations were banned. The demonstration in Paris originally aimed to gather at least 400 000 people. Yet 10,000 people demonstrated in Paris and formed a 3km-long human chain. 20,000 pair of shoes were placed in a square as a symbolic protest. The riot police attacked the peaceful demonstration with tear gas and pepper spray. 200 people were arrested.
New Delhi, India
This marks the beginning of protests during the climate summit in Paris. Nicolas Haeringer, French spokesman for 350.org, made the following statement: “Today’s human chain sets the stage for the creative and powerful ways in which civil society will continue to mobilize throughout the coming weeks as the climate talks unfold in Paris. We will stand up against any attempt by the French authorities to use the incident this afternoon to make an unnecessary crackdown on democratic rights and defend the kind of demonstrations that are the heart of any kind of democracy and in the climate process”.
The same week, both the British weather service, Met OfficeT, and the World Meteorological Organization WMO reported the gloomy news that the world for the first time has reached a temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius since industrialisation. The temperature increase is enhanced this year by an unusually strong El Nino (weather phenomenon that occurs every three to five years). But the fact that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air for the first time reached the global average value of 400 ppm is no weather phenomenon.
The climate in other words, is sending a warning flag to Paris and so does the global climate movement.