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10,000 people demand climate justice in Durban

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 03, 2011 05:30 PM

Friends of the Earth International joined a crowd of 10,000 people on the streets of Durban to call on climate negotiators to listen to the voice of the people.

Day of Action durban
Friends of the Earth South Africa / Groundwork present their demands on the Global Day of Action

People from all over South Africa, Africa and the world took part in the Global Day of Action today to call on climate negotiators to listen to the voice of the people.
Religious groups, union members, women's groups, environmental organisations and sole activists came out to demonstrate civil society's common determination to address climate change.


We, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), also took to the streets alongside our South African colleagues, Groundwork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, the South African Waste pickers Alliance and our allies La Via Campesina.


The marchers chanted a range of demands including, climate justice for all, keep the coal in the hole, no to dirty energy, people's power not corporate power and no to incineration.
The demonstrators call though, which came out loud and clear, was a call for the climate negotiators to start listening to the thousands of people in the streets and the millions of people in the world asking for action on climate change.


The march stopped in front of the International Convention Centre in order to deliver a message to the South African President of the talks, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the UN Climate Change Secretary Christiana Figueres.


Firstly civil society leaders, including FoEI's Nnimmo Bassey and Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, spoke to the crowd:


"Brothers and sisters here in the beautiful land of South Africa…It's good to be here to speak about justice, to speak about something that demands systemic change - climate change" said Tom Goldtooth. 


"I'm here to speak out for the rights of indigenous people.. the people who are the most vulnerable...We are here to fight for the rights of mother earth, the rights of nature" he concluded.


On receiving the messages urging world leaders and negotiators to listen, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Christiana Figueres addressed the crowd.


Maite Nkoana-Mashabane promised to do the right thing for Africa, whilst Christiana Figueres relayed the story of a group of school children she recently met who shared the same concerns as civil society.


The children chanted something that she has now adopted as her mantra:


"I have adopted the mantra to take to the private sector, to civil society, to each one of us" she said. 


"The mantra is this, 'Do more, do more and when you've done everything you can do, do more'"


She then urged the crowd to join in.


The question is, who will she 'do more' for: the people or the polluters?

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