On Monday, the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began in Paris. Hopes are high that world leaders will finally take serious action to address climate change. On Sunday, protesters attempted to peacefully make their voices heard. But open protest has been canceled due to the “state of emergency” imposed since the recent terror attacks in Paris which killed dozens of people. Even though stymied by the protest ban, activists were able to stage enough of a protest rally that Paris police attacked the protesters with tear gas, arresting over 200.
According to a report by Vice News (see also the attached video), protester groups have been camped out in Paris for several weeks preparing signs and other tools of protest. There had been plans for a protest march on Sunday, but because of the security situation that march was canceled.
Instead of marching protesters, placed their shoes in the Place de la Republique to symbolize what would have been the protest rally. Protesters also organized a human chain stretching nearly two miles, on the sidewalks to stay within the security regulations in force, from the Place de la Republique to the Place de la Nation. According to The Guardian, the rally in Paris was expected to be attended by over 200,000 people.
Anarchist groups did take to the street despite the protest ban. The Black Bloc of course has to keep its reputation of being the most vocal of the protesters. Those who did take to the streets were met by a police unit weilding plastic shields and tear gas.
According to Reuters, the worldwide protests were attended by over 600,000 people in over 2,000 cities, including London, Sao Paulo, New York, Ottowa, Mexico City, and Asuncion, Paraguay. In Sydney Australia about 45,000 people marched and in London England over 50,000 people marched. Sam Barratt at Avaaz told Reuters “These are the biggest set of global marches in history.”