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Climate Change Conference - arrests and divisions

Police arrest protesters as conference divisions continue

by Rosslyn Hyams

Article published on the 2009-12-16 Latest update 2009-12-16 15:29 TU

Demonstrators at the conference on Wednesday(Photo: Rosslyn Hyams)

Demonstrators at the conference on Wednesday
(Photo: Rosslyn Hyams)

Danish police arrested hundreds of demonstrators in Copenhagen Wednesday, as NGOs protested. Participants in the UN's Climate Change Conference remain divided over commitments to reduce global warming.

Police arrested hundreds of people about 500 metres from the Bella Conference Center, where the summit is taking place, on Wednesday. The protesters claim that the negotiations are dominated by business interests and are unfair.

I earlier witnessed the march through the Bella Center by about 200 people, indigenous delegates and supporters, young and old, chanting "Reclaim the Talks!" and "Climate Justice Now!".

The pressure is building outside the conference proper, as thousands of NGO members are unable to enter, because of security concerns and because organisers issued too many accreditations.

Inside the centre, a small group of NGOs held a sit-in to demand greater access to the conference. They learned two days ago that most of them would not be able to attend the summit.

Journalists were prevented from speaking to the protesters by UN security officers, who said the reporters would have to ask for authorisation from the UNFCCC media office. Protesters insisted that they were being denied freedom of expression.

As Friday's deadline approaches and pressure builds for binding commitments, one thing is clear at the conference.


Between those who want binding commitments and targets, and mechanisms to enforce them, and those who don’t; between those who want more money to be able to adapt and cope, and those who say they don’t have any more to give and between those who want to cap carbon emissions today, and those who think it’s reasonable to do it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has taken over as chair of the High-Level Segment. He replaces Danish Climate Conference Minister Connie Hedegaard whom he appointed as his special representative to conduct informal talks..

Rasmussen said “The final negotiations will be tense and strenuous.”

Hedegaard said, “Let’s get this done.”

They and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon have called for all countries to put common interest over domestic interest as the Friday deadline approaches.


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