50,000 protesters in London demand a real deal at Copenhagen

Text and photos by Lauren Carroll Harris, London

December 5, 2009 -- As one homemade banner said, "The tides are rising, so are we". London's streets were awash with a sea of blue as more than 50 000 people joined together, filling the city with noise and colour and encircling parliament to demand immediate government action on global warming ahead of the COP15 UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, which began on December 7.

The ``Wave'' was called to urge a deal at Copenhagen which cuts carbon emissions while allowing Third World countries to continue to develop with the aid of the First World. A diversity of protesters -- young, old, families, students, cycling blocks, community contingents and drumming circles -- urged the British government to quit coal, act fair and fast, and protect the poorest in its response to the biggest single threat to the planet and its people.

Before the Wave, hundreds participated in a "Climate Emergency" rally, which was called to assert more explicit and radical demands, and to ensure that the demonstrations weren't hijacked by the media and government to portray support for the COP15 talks. The five demands of this demonstration were: the declaration of a climate emergency, 10% cut in carbon emissions by the end of 2010 (which many protesters amended on their placards to 40%), a million green jobs by the end of 2010, an immediate ban on all domestic flights, a national 55 mph speed limit and an end to the roads program, and a ban on agrofuel use.

[Lauren Carroll Harris is a member of the Socialist Alliance of Australia.]