Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Real COP15 Demo behind the media’s coverage.

On the 12th of December took place the largest international citizen support for climate action in Copenhagen so far.

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Next day, those were the headlines:

Euronews: Hundreds arrested at climate change demo

NY times: Hundreds of protesters arrested at climate talks

CNN: Arrests at climate conference.


I felt confused and angered by how the international media focused on the tiny incident that happened while completely ignoring the hopeful and positive message the mass of 100,000 people tried to convey in a very festive and organized atmosphere.

I know it, I was there.

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A few days earlier, I had decided to find a way to get to Copenhagen and join the march, even for a day, to show my support. Luckily I heard about a French left-wing anti-capitalist party that was organizing buses trips for that special event. I jumped on the occasion and bought my ticket.

On the 11th of December, 3 buses left Paris towards Denmark in a 20 hour trip. We were mostly young people, with a big majority being politically active and a few (like myself) just wanting to show their support.

We arrived the next day around noon. Due to a delay on the German border, we missed the first part of the march but arrived just in time to catch up with the crowd on the starting point at 1pm.

In front of the Parliament, in Christiansborg, I watched the streets fill with colors and people from many different countries, together, side by side, marching and carrying their signs with strong and direct slogans.

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Political leaders, actors, important personalities took turn to deliver their messages for climate justice action. The crowd was roaring louder and louder, showing support cheerfully.

The march started at around 2pm, under a low sun and freezing temperatures that didn’t seem to annoy the happy crowd snaking in the streets of Copenhagen.

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I followed the mass during 6km up to Bella center, behind mini-trucks blasting Drum n’ Bass or reggae music all the way. It was a colorful march, festive and well organized. Signs were left here and there for people to take and join in. Other causes were also represented like Tibet or Iran.

Apart from a few helicopters and scattered security guards, the police were very discrete and friendly. The only incident the media focused so much on was the work of an ultra-violent anarchist group all masked and dressed in black that threw bricks at the police and broke a few windows. But they were very quickly arrested and the march continued strong and undisturbed.

The 5 hour long march ended in front of the Bella center where the talks are being held. Thousands of candles were held up high, representing the hopes and support of the international community for climate action. The night continued with concerts in town and people dancing to electro or hip hop music. I also was impressed by how fast the streets were cleaned behind the march!

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So I sit and wonder. Why did the media focus on such a small incident, ignoring completely the reality of a 100,000 citizens marching together as one? Why didn’t anybody talk about the peaceful messages and the festive atmosphere that reigned all the way during 6kms?

Do not be fooled by what the media shows… The COP15 “Flood Action” march was a success. It was never done before.

Now let’s hope the message is clearly understood and do our part of the job.

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1 comment:

  1. great experience!
    I'm impressed.