On December 12, the final day of the Paris climate talks, an international group of protesters filled the streets of the French capital to mark their “red lines” for climate justice. The Red Lines Coalition, which includes Attac France, 350.org, Climate Games, Avaaz and Confédération Paysenne, described the action as a way to, “honor past and future victims of climate change, driven by respect, determination and hope.”
On Friday evening, COP negotiators postponed the release of the final treaty until Saturday, so many protesters in the streets on Saturday were still unaware of the final outcome. Once the treaty was available later in the day, some
organizations praised it, while others criticized its lack of binding commitments. But the consensus amongst those in the streets on Saturday was that a vibrant, worldwide climate movement had made the treaty possible, and will be necessary in the coming years to give it teeth.
The midday protest was originally unauthorized by French authorities under the state of emergency protest ban. The government finally decided to permit the Saturday morning demonstration, which took place with heavy police surveillance.
Protesters rolled out enormous red banners that had been prepared over the past two weeks and many dressed in red. Attention-grabbing inflatable barricades accompanied the action and posed an amusing juxtaposition to the imposing police presence.
A second action, largely organized by French groups, was planned for 2pm at the Eiffel Tower. According to the “Red lines” demonstration organizers, the police had granted authorization on the condition that the group not move across the city en masse.
However, as the demonstration came to a close at 1pm, the energy of the crowd was enough to push through the police barricade at the end of Grande Armée Avenue at Porte Maillot. The demonstration became a march and headed towards the Eiffel Tower, where at protestors joined the other action.
Sent from Paris. Martha Pskowski is an independent journalist reporting on the Climate Change talks, COP21, in Paris for the Americas Program. She is a regular contributor to the Americas Program at www.americas.org
Photos by Martha Pskowski
Thank you for this report from the front lines!
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