While London has been marching on in support of halting temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius, Paris has not been quite so lucky – or as they would say, have not enjoyed liberté in this regard. Nevertheless, by the morning, hundreds of youthful and some not-so-young protestors had crushed their way around the Le Republique area, the same place where CNN craned its cameras continually following the Nov. 13 killings.
Today in the 10th arrondissement, protestors chanted/sang a song in French that was repeated by their cohorts behind another set of armed policemen, who appeared steadfast but not overly aggressive as they kept their large shields in front of them. One officer was even chewing gum during the ordeal, while many protestors wore masks and clown faces or noses. At one point earlier, the sound of police gunfire or some other loud boom sounded, but it was apparently a warning not aimed at anyone.
The 21st Conference of the Parties, COP 21, begins tomorrow as nearly 150 heads of state including President Obama, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and France’s President Hollande greet and pose for photo ops. Tens of thousands of delegates from all over the world will mill about with the likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and environmental activists. Outdoor marches as well as an art installation at the foot of La Tour Eiffel, have been shuttered. It’s unclear as of press time if, in view of the protests today against the marching ban, any of the security measures will be lifted.
What’s at stake: formal consensus on how to keep Earth’s temp from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next eight decades.
Read about the climate conference; follow this column for more reports in coming days. The conference ends Dec. 11.