Protesters Call for More from UN Climate Summit

Tens of thousands of protesters marched from downtown Copenhagen to the United Nations climate summit on Saturday, a public display of support for measures to address climate change. The protest included both those simply looking to urge negotiators toward a better deal at the summit and others from anarchist and anti-capitalist groups, though the unifying message was that world leaders have not done enough about climate change.

Organizers estimated that the crowd numbered 100,000, while other observers said it was closer to 60,000.

They came dressed in in polar suits, painted blue to symbolize rising sea levels, and wearing masks of world leaders. Some carried signs proclaiming that “There is no planet B,” while others waved banners bearing a sickle and hammer. Across the crowd, however, sentiment was strong that the United Nations process underway across town was not likely to produce a meaningful commitment to action on climate change.

“This is what Earth democracy looks like,” Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva told the crowd. “What’s happening at COP15 is the death of democracy.”

It was, for the most part, a peaceful rally and march, though at one point black-clad protesters threw bricks through the windows of government buildings, prompting the police to fire off cans of smoke. The vast majority of the march was jubilant, however, with carts basting bangra music, a marching band, and several mariachis. The group marched nearly 4 miles from the Danish Parliament to the conference center, where they concluded with a candlelight vigil.

Here are some photos from the day’s events:


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.