Thousands hit the streets for action on climate change

IssueDecember 2005 - January 2006
Feature by CACC, PN staff

On Saturday 3 December, around 10,000 people marched through London to demand urgent action on climate change. This was part of a global protest taking place in more than 30 countries, demanding urgent action from world leaders at the Montreal Climate Talks - and specifically for the US and Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Hundreds braved the rain to turn out for a march in Edinburgh, with participants reporting a very positive mood: one marcher commented, “I think we where all heartened to se such a motivated group of people, and we are all ready to get back on the campaign and start raising awareness locally.”

A global concern

Around the world people gathered in their thousands: 3,500 gathered in Sydney, Australia, and 10,000 in Australia as a whole; 2,000 in Istanbul and another 1,000 each in two other Turkish cities.
    Up to 35,000 gathered in Montreal itself where the UN Climate Talks are taking place, whilst numerous smaller demonstrations took place around the world, including in countries gravely threatened by climate change like Bangladesh (Dhaka) - and some countries had their first ever demonstration on climate change, like South Korea (Seoul) and Russia (Yekaterinburg).

Don't “kow-tow” to Bush

In London the day kicked off with 200 cyclists taking part in a Critical Mass ride from the Thames Barrier - which, in the face of climate change, will be insufficient to prevent London from flooding. Commenting after the event, one cyclist told Peace News “it was good to make a practical point about energy use and climate change, by using an alternative form of transport. This was a great ride, it even started on time!”
    During the march - an unusually a long one - a letter was handed in to Downing Street demanding that the British government publicly and unambiguously reaffirm its commitment to an international emissions reductions treaty with legally binding targets.
    The march finished at the US Embassy where a rally was held. Speakers included Michael Meacher MP, Norman Baker MP, Caroline Lucas MEP, and campaigning journalist, George Monbiot.
    Explaining why the march ended outside the US embassy, Caroline Lucas said, “We are gathered here because George Bush's refusal to act on climate change makes him guilty of crimes against humanity...”, with Michael Meacher adding that Tony Blair must not “kow-tow” to the Bush administration on climate.
    London march organiser Phil Thornhill said “This will grow into the biggest political campaign the world has ever seen: it will have to because it will be confronting the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced.”