Thousands rally on eve of climate summit

Protesters attend a rally held the day before the start of the Paris Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile, on Nov 29, 2015.
Protesters attend a rally held the day before the start of the Paris Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile, on Nov 29, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

Thousands of people from around the globe protested in central Paris yesterday, challenging world leaders and negotiators to finally seal an agreement to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.

Across the globe, more than 2,000 events were held in cities, including Sydney, Berlin, London, Sao Paulo and New York, making it perhaps the biggest day of climate action in history on the eve of a global climate conference in the French capital that starts today and ends on Dec 11, reported Reuters.

Nearly 150 world leaders are in Paris to issue a call for urgent action to fight climate change to avoid ever more destructive storms, floods, droughts and rising sea levels that would swamp coastal mega-cities. The goal is to agree on a pact that prevents the world from warming beyond 2 deg C.

The French government cancelled a huge march planned for Paris yesterday on security fears after militants killed 130 people in the capital two weeks ago.

About 22,000 pairs of shoes were placed in Place de la Republique to represent people forbidden from marching. Police later fired tear gas at protesters who threw objects at them near the square, said Agence France- Presse.

Earlier, nearby, thousands of protesters joined up in a human chain more than 2km long, calling for strong action on climate change.

"Everybody should feel the need to participate and act globally. We need a mass of people to be heard globally," participant Mihael Kasas, 32, from Slovenia, told The Straits Times.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2015, with the headline 'Thousands rally on eve of climate summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe