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Climate demonstration attracts thousands

Environmentalists from all over the world participated in a large scale demonstration on Saturday in Copenhagen calling for governments to seal the climate deal. In Copenhagen, host city of the ongoing UN negotiations, a six-kilometer march from the parliament building to the conference venue gathered an estimated 50,000 people. The protests continued into the evening turning into a small festival outside the Bella centre.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Saturday waving placards and banners reading, “There is no planet B,” and “Nature doesn’t Compromise” demanding a bold climate deal, as talks enter their second week at the UN Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen.

Observers say thousands more events and rallies are expected today, Sunday and over the next few days to send a message of unity and urgency to environment ministers who arrive this weekend, and to over 100 world leaders who are expected to arrive shortly.

Saturday’s protesters spread out across six kilometres from Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, the high-security site of the international talks.

Estimates ranged from 30,000 upwards to 100,000 protesters, all of whom had flocked to the Danish capital from Europe and beyond.

The Copenhagen march was the centrepiece to demonstrations that took place simultaneously around the world. TV images showed hundreds of handcuffed protesters sitting on the ground, ordered in long lines along Amagerbrogade, one of the city’s major shopping streets.

“I hope they will get a good deal, a green deal. That’s why I am demonstrating, to show them that there are many people who want them to make a good deal,” said one protestor dressed a polar bear, Fabian Stenz, outside Copenhagen’s Bella centre.

Another activist, Ann Sellberg, from Sweden, said:

“Everyone is coming together today to make a change, this is one of the greatest moments of humanity and I am proud to be part of that, trying to be part of something good that could be a catastrophe.”

Australia saw as many as 50,000 people taking to the streets nationwide, according to the organizers.

About 20,000 people marched in London to protest against climate change before the conference and a Greenpeace demonstration in Paris drew 1,500 people.

In Indonesia, the third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States, activists rallied outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta to urge the country to support developing nations in reducing emissions.

In the Philippines, hundreds of protesters wearing red shirts banged on drums and sang songs outside Manila’s City Hall demanding global action on climate change.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu and church leaders from the regions most affected by climate change also spoke out on climate change from a faith perspective on Sunday.

The current meeting is the biggest U.N. climate meeting history, aimed at working out a pact to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol when it expires.

The UN says considerable progress has been made in areas including technology, adaptation and the prevention of deforestation, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters on Friday. "It is now also time to begin to focus on the big picture."

With just a week of negotiations left, Rachendra Pachauri the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is co-hosted by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation, has urged delegates to heed warnings the planet is on a collision course with climate change.

The IPCC says emissions must peak by 2020 and that heads of state can deliver that target.

The United Nations says rich nations must accept deep cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and come up serious funding to assist developing countries. It also wants new actions by developing nations to slow the rise of their emissions.