Hundreds of thousands of people across the world have joined in events to urge action on climate change, a day ahead of a landmark climate summit. In Paris, protesters were forced to be inventive amid a marching ban.
Organizers said more than 2,000 events were planned worldwide on Sunday as normal citizens joined forces to put pressure on global leaders to reach an international deal on cutting greenhouse gases.
In Paris, where the UN climate change conference is to open on Monday, protesters joined hands to form a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) human chain in the center of the city, replacing a huge planned march that was cancelled after the government imposed a state of emergency following deadly attacks two weeks ago.
French authorities have temporarily banned demonstrations as a security measure after the attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers, which killed 130 at various sites across the city on November 13.
As a sign of respect for the victims, the protesters left a 100-meter (300-foot) break in the chain outside the Bataclan concert hall, the scene of the worst attack, in which 90 people died.
Activists also left thousands of pairs of shoes – including one from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – at the Place de la Republique as a symbolic substitute for the planned march. Organizers said the Vatican had also sent a pair to represent Pope Francis.
On the other side of the globe, thousands of people marched in Australia on Sunday to kick off a day of final protests across the world before the summit. The largest protest, attended by 45,000 people according to organizers, was in Sydney, while other major demonstrations took place in the capital, Canberra, and the southern city of Adelaide.
US President Barack Obama and China’s Xi Jinping will be among the 150 leaders attending the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21), which aims to bring about a historic universal climate pact on tackling climate change to avert a climate catastrophe.
The conference will take place under even tighter security following the attacks, with some 2,800 police and soldiers securing the conference site and 6,300 others deployed across the city.
tj/ jlw (AFP, Reuters)