Revolution #187, December 27, 2009
Courageous Protestors Defy Police to Defend Planet
Throughout the Copenhagen summit, there was courageous protest and resistance in the streets. On December 12, as reported in last week’s Revolution, tens of thousands protested in Copenhagen along with at least tens of thousands more around the world. Danish police pre-emptively attacked and rounded up 1,000 people, subjecting them to abuse and pain in jail. In some cases, protesters were locked in cages inside the detention facility and pepper sprayed by police. Cops on the scene referred to these cages as "Guantánamo junior." Over the course of the 11 days of protests, at least 1,500 people were arrested in pre-emptive arrests. Danish police used newly passed powers to arrest and detain people who they suspected might break the law in the future. The laws also allow them to jail activists for 40 days if protesters are charged with "hindering the police." Daily marches were attacked by police with repeated rounds of arrests.
On December 16 thousands of people mobilized to Reclaim Power! and sought to march in various blocs to get to the Bella Center where the summit was being held. Their plan was to climb over barriers and set up a People’s Assembly where real causes and solutions of climate change would be discussed and figured out. The protesters were viciously set on by Danish police, beating people with batons and shooting pepper spray. Delegates and non-governmental representatives who tried to walk out of the summit to join the protests for a people’s assembly were also attacked and driven back into the hall. A number of mainstream environmental groups including Friends of the Earth (FOE) were refused entry into the summit on the day of the Reclaim Power! protest. In response, 50 members of the groups staged a sit-in inside the Bella Center. FOE is the largest environmental organization in the world, with chapters in 70 countries. Separately, hundreds of non-governmental organizations who had been attending the summit were informed they could no longer attend the summit as of December 17 to make way for world leaders.
Climate Justice Action (CJA) which coordinated and mobilized the protests spoke out to expose the many forms the police were taking to repress opposition to the summit. Three spokespeople for the group were snatched up by police before or during the December 16 protest and have been held and charged with felonies. In court hearings against two CJA leaders, it came out that Danish police had been tapping activists’ phones. Activists also said that there has been widespread use of undercover police infiltrating protest meetings and actions.
Despite all this, the protests have been continual and defiant, and have broken through into the international spotlight—showing the desire of millions to save the planet, and indicting the forces responsible for global warming and their false solutions. And through all this as well, the nature of bourgeois democracy with its essence of vicious and brutal dictatorship enforced by the police forces, courts and jails has been brought more to light. As the criminals who are responsible for destroying the planet’s living systems and humanity were meeting to carry out more plans to continue this—it was these instruments of state repression that defended this and tried to put down and shut up the people who were fighting for the future of the planet. This is outrageous and should be condemned by people all over the globe as the resisters are also defended and supported. On December 18, the summit’s final day, CJA is planning a solidarity march to support those arrested and continue to indict the summit.
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