Revolution #186, December 20, 2009
Mass Arrests in Copenhagen:
Thousands Protest to Save the Planet
As we go to press, significant protest and resistance to the UN climate summit conference in Copenhagen (COP15) is taking place.
December 12 was called as a global day of action by Climate Justice Action (CJA). Events were planned in over 100 countries. In Copenhagen, as many as 100,000 people marched through the streets, the largest protest ever held around global warming, according to the UK Guardian. Danish police surrounded and then arrested almost 1,000 youth. A police spokesperson claimed this mass repression and round-up was necessary “to give the peaceful demonstration the possibility to move on.”
Reports on the website Indymedia Danmark (indymedia.dk) say that people released from detention have reported horrible conditions in detention—people locked into small cages, some forced to urinate on themselves due to being denied toilet facilities and others fainted while handcuffed for hours. One woman arrested and then released because she had an injury said, “Of course we’re angry—people all over the world are angry about being lied to by governments who are making a corporate deal at the climate talks, and now when we try to protest against this on the streets we are randomly held by police.”
Reports from Australia said 50,000 people marched nationwide on December 12.
On December 13, hundreds of people gathered for the “Hit the Production” march on Copenhagen’s harbor. The call for this action says, “The COP15 UN climate negotiations will not solve the climate crisis. Stuck in an ideology of never ending economic growth, their market-based false solutions only reinforce the interests of the most powerful actors. Meanwhile, ecological destruction and social injustices proliferate… In Copenhagen we will target the harbor with a mass blockade...” People carried banners saying “Our Planet Not Your Business.” Police surrounded the protest, confiscated the sound truck and then arrested 200 people.
Danish authorities approved new police powers in anticipation of the summit protests, allowing police to detain people for up to 12 hours if the police suspect they might break the law in the future. The laws also allow police to jail activists for 40 days if protesters are charged with “hindering the police.” The UK Guardian reported that on December 8, police in Copenhagen raided a place where activists were sleeping, holding people for two hours and confiscating items the police claimed “could be used for civil disobedience.” Denmark, which is fond of touting its great democracy, is demonstrating very clearly the class dictatorship that is the essence of bourgeois democracy. The criminals who preside over the capitalist-imperialist system that is destroying the planet’s environment and endangering humanity and its ecosystems are being protected and defended—while the masses who are fighting to preserve the planet are being rounded up and abused.
Other protests are planned and things could heat up much more when heads of government come to the summit next week. A group called Reclaim Power! has put out a call for activists in Copenhagen to disrupt the summit by climbing physical barriers and set up space for a people’s assembly to discuss a real solution to the climate crisis.
Before the summit began, 50,000 protested in London to demand a real solution to global warming, and thousands marched in other European cities. In the U.S., hundreds of people in at least eight cities protested and sought to block headquarters of banks and corporations tied to global warming. These actions were held on the tenth anniversary of the November 30 protests in Seattle that disrupted and derailed the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting and inspired worldwide resistance to imperialist globalization. Revolution will have further coverage of the summit and protests.
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