Greenpeace Southeast Asia


Copenhagen Diary 8 | Crackdown by Chuck Baclagon
December 17, 2009, 11:36 pm
Filed under: Stop climate change | Tags: , , ,

On December 16 as Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now activists planned to enter the COP15 venue and stage “People’s Assembly”, the access has been highly restricted. Metro station at the Bella Center was closed. More barricades and defensive wall were put around the area.


Thai community member woke up very early morning and were joining the rally started from Sundby area. Khun Srisuwan Khaunkajorn – senior activists from Thailand and I were suppose to join them in front of the Bella Center. We took S train from central station and stop over Orestad station and walked from there. It was only access to the COP15 venue for all delegates.

At the entrance at noon I met with Emmy Hafild – former Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia-who came out from inside in hurry.

“Hi Tara, nice to see you again” greeted Emmy. I already met her inside Bella Center two days ago. She got the pink badge that represents Indonesian delegate. She was about to leave for Jakarta “I got to go home now.”
Two word that Emmy described to me what happened inside the COP15 ; “Chaos” and “disaster”

“When the marchers reached the Bella Center, the police informed them through a megaphone in English and some other European languages that I did not understood. The police chose to break up the demonstration even though our activists had signaled not to try to enter the conference venue after all, instead staging a gathering outside.” Reported from Penchom Tang – Thai Working Group for Climate Justice who accompanied other Thai activists to the rally.

“Demonstrators in the front line were then pepper-sprayed and beaten with batons. Some tried scaling fences, climbing over police vans and even using flotation devices to cross a canal surrounding the venue.” Continued Penchom.

I was blocked by the police as trying to follow a couple of hundred delegates marching out of the Bella Center to join the demonstration. I heard that some were also beaten back with batons by the police.

The situation had settled down by early afternoon, we phoned Thai team in the really to check their safety. About 230 people were arrested.

“I am glad that Thai activists are safe” Said Khun Srisuwan after hearing that they already gone back to the place they stay -the stadium outside Copenhagen.

By Thursday, an access has been more restricted with no more than 1,000 civil society representatives allowed in the Bella Center and down to only 90 on the final day of the conference.

It heated a collective of 50 NGOs to UNFCCC to write an open letter to executive secretary Yvo de Boer and COP15 president Lars Løkke Rasmussen as Connie Hedegaard has already resigned.

The letter said “It is unacceptable that civil society observers should be limited in this forum, and we hope that the UNFCCC Secretariat will recognise and reverse this undemocratic action. The negotiations under the UNFCCC/Kyoto Protocol framework have a huge and increasing impact on the lives of ordinary people all over the world. Their participation in the climate negotiations as members of civil society is absolutely crucial for ensuring that the Copenhagen outcomes are both just and effective,” the letter reads. It argues that the proposed restrictions are a breach of legal obligations to ensure public participation in the negotiations. If civil society voices are marginalised now, they will be marginalized in the final outcome.”

I talked to Wanun Permpiboon – who got the pink badge – over phone as she was still inside the Bella Center. “If you got pink badge you can get inside but to get into the plenary you have to have “gold card” badge and “platinum card” badge for Friday.” She said excitingly.

Tara Buakamsri

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