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People power: behind the scenes at a climate demo

Focus COP15

People power: behind the scenes at a climate demo

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Massive demonstrations like those seen in Copenhagen have helped put climate change on the news agenda – and keep it there.

Tens of thousands of people demanding cuts in carbon emissions are difficult to ignore.

One protester said: “We want to support the leaders to make choices that are daring, bigger than they dare to make.”

Another added: “This is an expression of populations, of grassroots people. So if the politicians do not take it into account I think we will continue to act.”

Huge demonstrations like those seen in Denmark are never improvised.

Getting so many green activists in the same place at the same time takes months of careful planning.

Jorn Andersen is one of the main figures behind the banners. He explained that the key to a successful demo is keeping the movement inclusive and looking forward.

”We want this to be an open invitation to anybody who is not in an organisation. If we want to do something about climate change we need a lot more people involved than the usual suspects. This movement needs to be inclusive, inviting everybody who wants to be part of it to come in, discuss how we can go on from there. And this is a process that will take place over the next months and the next couple of years,” he said.

Frida Eklund is from Oxfam. Her organisation is one of many who have come together to pool their resources for Cop 15. Amid the diversity of groups and actions it is essential to keep the message clear.

She said: “The Global Days of Action have been really important in pulling this together and really making sure that people mobilise around key moments. For December 12, there were 136 different countries involved and around 2,700 events around the world, getting stuck in and getting engaged, which was great.

“It is also really important that we are all heading in the same direction, and to have a really thought-out campaign strategy for where you want to get to and what your message is at the end. “

That demonstration mid-way through the summit was one of the largest climate rallies so far.

For the campaigners, staying united and peaceful was essential if their message was to remain clear.

They have pushed the green agenda into mainstream politics and, whatever the summit’s outcome, they say they will not put down their banners until their battle is won.

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