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Reclaim Power Action Begins inside Copenhagen Climate Talks

by Jamie Henn

A crowd of youth, activists, indigenous peoples, and perhaps some delegates, burst in chants of "Climate Justice Now!" and "Reclaim Power!" in the middle of the Bella Center where the Copenhagen Climate Talks are being held. Instantly surrounded by cameras and media, the group began a march out of the center towards the gates of the building where as many as 10,000 people are planning to meet them in what organizers are calling the Reclaim Power action.

The BBC is reporting that hundreds of people have already been arrested this morning as thousands more march on the Bella Center. It will be a challenge for them to get very close to the negotiations. As Adrian Wilson reports, security is tight around the  conference venue with chain link fences, concrete walls, and hundreds of police and what looked like Danish military blocking the roadways - someone with me in line this morning reported seeing a water cannon going by.

The action may receive a good deal of sympathy from even the most mainstream civil society groups here at the talks. The UN has severely restricted the number of NGO representatives able to access the negotiations over the next few days. Yesterday, NGOs were allocated the "secondary badges" now necessary for entry for only about 20% of their participants. Tomorrow, the UN will only allow 1,000 civil society representatives into the talks. On Friday, only 90 were going to be allowed in, but representatives from the Climate Action Network and others argued security back up to 500.

"The surgical removal of non governmental organizations underscores the lack of democracy inherent in these negotiations." said Professor Micheal Dorsey, a member of the Climate Justice Now! Network. "The United Nations process has systematically failed the world's marginalized countries and consistently excludes those that would dare support and fight on behalf of those countries. The only way to avoid catastrophic climate change is fully supporting and including peoples movements like the very ones illegitimately removed from this process."

"Today we are seeing thousands of people joining together to fight for climate justice," said Natalie Swift, a spokeperson with Climate Justice Action. "We need systems change to create a world which is truly just and sustainable and solve the climate crisis."

Keep checking IGHIH for more updates as this action evolves and marches attempt to open up the highly guarded Bella Center to the outside world.

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