Hundreds of Activists Protest Inside COP17 Climate Talks In Solidarity With Africa, Small Island Nations
In events reminiscent of the near daily surges of activists inside the climate talk convention center in Copenhagen in 2009, hundreds of activists have marched into the COP17 talks in Durban.
The march filled the hall outside the main negotiating room in Durban just as the afternoon round of talks were scheduled to begin. Standing side-by-side with delegates from some of the world's most vulnerable countries, civil society representatives sang traditional South African freedom songs and chanted slogans like, "Listen to the People, Not the Polluters."
As of 3:30 Durban time, protesters still filled a hallway of the conference center, signing, chanting, and listening to speeches from activists and representatives from around the world. It is unclear whether security will allow the gathering to proceed throughout the day or clear the area.
As to the motivation of the protestors, beyond the obvious sentiment that the world's big polluters are doing tragically little to own up to their shared responsibility to stop destroying the atmosphere—a sentiment now several years old yet still depressingly current and apropos—Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said:
We are all the people of Africa. We are all the people of the islands. President Obama, do not listen to the CEOs of fossil fuel companies. Listen to the people.
Here's some video of the protest:
And Kumi Naidoo talking with reporters:
US Negotiator Called Out
These latest protest come a day after US climate negotiator Todd Stern was loudly interrupted in the plenary hall by Abigail Borah. Afterwhich, Adopt a Negotiator's Alex Stark writes, "The plenary leaders from around the world filled with applause, even as Borah was led away by UNFCCC security."
Check out the video of Borah below: