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Danish police release hundreds of climate protesters

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-12-13

Danish police on Sunday released most of the 968 climate activists who were detained during a mass protest demanding action on climate change from delegates at the UN conference.

Danish police have released most of the 968 people detained during Saturday's mass climate protest in Copenhagen.

Police said only 13 of the 968 activists arrested during and after the demonstration remained in custody Sunday. Of those, three — two Danes and a Frenchman — were set to be arraigned in court on preliminary charges of fighting with police.

Tens of thousands of people took part in the Saturday march to the heavily guarded conference centre where world powers are struggling to hammer out a deal to combat global warming. The Copenhagen demonstration was the climax of a global chain of colourful protests intended to put pressure on the climate delegates.

These demonstrations were peaceful, excepted for a violent episode in Copenhagen, when hundreds of black-clad youths were seen throwing bricks and smashing windows, prompting swift intervention by riot police.

Climate poker

This weekend's meetings mark the start of a gruelling game of climate poker before the arrival of heads of state and government on Wednesday and Thursday, many of whom will speak in the conference's plenary session.

Those rostered to attend include US President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan, and the heads of the European Union.

Failure this coming Friday would deal a heavy blow to the nation-state system, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations' Nobel-winning panel of climate scientists, warned on Saturday.

"I think if we are able to get a good agreement, this would clearly create an enormous amount of confidence in the ability of human society to be able to act on a multilateral basis," said Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"If we fail, I don't think everything is lost, but certainly it will be a major setback."

A France 24 - RFI webdocumentary

Date created : 2009-12-13


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