PARIS, France— Holding placards and banners, dancing and chanting, thousands of people braved the cold weather and marched through the streets of the French capital to demand that governments take urgent action to tackle climate change.
The demonstrations held on Saturday, hours before more than 190 nations adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change, took place on the streets of the iconic landmarks of Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.
Big demonstrations are banned by the authorities following the recent terrorist attacks days before the United Nations-led climate change summit here. But the march protest turned out to be peaceful.
Filipino artist and environmentalist AG Sano, who accompanied his brother climate activists Yeb Sano, joined the global march, to show his solidarity in calling for climate justice, especially for the people of the Philippines and victims of the recent Super Typhoon Haiyan that left more than 6,000 people dead and thousands of others homeless.
Sano was in Tacloban City when Haiyan hit, just days after he led climate murals. He helped carried bodies buried in debris for a couple of days before heading home.
“I believe in grassroots movement and bottom-up principle. If a third of the 7 billion people we have in the world today will care and do their part to address climate change, that can change the world,” said Sano.
Colin Roche, economic justice programme at Friends of the Earth in Europe said that a strong climate deal is the only way to survive, especially for vulnerable communities that are affected by weather-related climate impacts.
Performance and installation artist Natalia Cassinelli dressed as “Mother Earth” and stood silently amid the flurry of shouting and marching people who are shouting for the global community to “walk their talk for climate action.”
“I support the idea of COP21 and we are in the streets to manifest that mother earth can be protected. It is up to us to return the gift of life,” said Cassinelli in an interview.
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