'Why we took to the streets'
I would like to share this op-ed with you, co-written by our Board member Maude Barlow, about the situation in Copenhagen. Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!
Why we took to the streets
Inaction from business interests and political leaders in Copenhagen has forced the rebirth of the movement founded in Seattle
By Maude Barlow and Andrea Harden-Donahue
COPENHAGEN ‚Äî When stuck between a rock and a hard place, there comes a time when a decision must be made. Will you lie down and suffer or choose to push with all of your will to move the rock out of your way?
Caught between increasing marginalization at, and exclusion from the Bella Center (the site of the climate negotiations) and the failure of the summit to address the climate crisis, the Dec. 16 Reclaim the Power march in Copenhagen chose to move the rock. The march, thousands strong, literally pushed for climate justice.
Joining this multi-faceted mass action of non-violent civil disobedience were people from all around the world organized in diverse networks.
The objective was not to close down the summit but rather, for one day, to open a space in the UN area for a people‚ assembly. Hundreds of delegates, led by members of the Bolivian delegation and the Indigenous Peoples Caucus, walked out of the Bella Center to join with the thousands of people on the other side of the fence. People were attempting to overcome physical barriers that stood in the way of holding the people‚ assembly and uniting the two groups.
It is of fundamental importance to emphasize that there was no violence on the part of demonstrators.
While the action was one of civil disobedience, it was non-violent; the demonstrators did not respond to police with violence. Video footage clearly attests that participants remained peaceful, which is no easy task when your eyes are burning from pepper spray and tear gas and your body is bruised from batons. We personally witnessed police officers clubbing protesters, large police trucks being used to herd protesters to the point of falling over and police dogs being used for intimidation… Read more.