Climate activists reported that at least three-quarters of a million people around the world marked the opening of the Paris World Climate Summit on Nov. 29 by participating in more than 2,300 public events in at least 175 countries calling for effective action. The Guardian estimated numbers at a more modest, but still impressive, 600,000 people.
Organizers in London, Melbourne and nearly a dozen other cities including Ottawa, claimed to have broken records for turnout to such events. Demonstrations took place in locations as diverse as Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Samoa, Ecuador, and Yemen, where activists were reported to have braved air strikes landing within a few kilometers in order to show their support for a climate pact.
In Paris, one demonstration turned violent when police released tear-gas to disperse activists who defied a security ban on street protests. “I was on the street to fight against global warming,” one activist said, according to the National Observer. “The French government used this as an opportunity to fight against activism. Now they are calling green activism terrorism.”
According to reports by the CBC, 25,000 people marched to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to support Canada’s climate negotiators in taking strong action. Thousands more gathered in British Columbia in front of the downtown Vancouver Art Gallery. “We’re here to send a very loud and clear message that we need immediate and meaningful action to be taken to address the climate crisis,” Ruth Walmsley, who helped organize the event, told The Vancouver Sun.