‘Don’t kill Africa’ protesters at climate summit
plenary halls where the lastminute negotiations are happening.
The protest was organised by environmental groups Greenpeace, 350. org and Friends of the Earth International, which are among hundreds representing civil society at the summit.
They claimed in a statement that “hundreds” had joined in, but it was difficult to tell how many were actually taking part because of the crush of media and other delegates who crowded around to watch.
Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace was removed from the confer- ence centre and has been banned from the building.
He, along with nine other Greenpeace activists, has had his UN accreditation badge removed, meaning he cannot re- enter the site during the remainder of the UN climate conference.
UN police and security staff from a local company linked hands and stood shoulder-toshoulder to keep the protesters away from the main entrance and the doors leading to the plenary room.
The protesters carried posters with slogans like “Don’t Kill Africa” and “Stand Strong, Africa”, chanting loudly “Climate justice now!” and “Leave the coal in the hole, leave the oil in the soil”.
A woman was cheered when she shouted: “I’m from the US. I’m embarrassed. I apologise for my leaders. Let the people lead – let the leaders follow!”
Leaders of the environmental groups, including Kumi Naidoo, who is Greenpeace’s executive director, and Bobby Peek from Durban, who heads the local branch of Friends of the Earth, negotiated with senior UN security staff while the protest continued.
Will Bates of 350.org then returned to address the protesters. He said they had had a “very constructive” conversation with the UN officials.
The protesters had to decide whether to continue their demonstration outdoors, or stay where they were and lose their accreditation.
He said there was a concern that “the noise of our demonstration might disrupt the actual negotiations, which we’re here to support”.
About 20 protesters sat down, while many of the others slowly started moving away as negotiations continued.