SchNEWS Of The World


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Reports from Rising Tide inspired actions inside and outside the UN climate conference COP 6.5 in Bonn, July 2001

Critical Mass

July 16th: The Rising Tide series of actions against the climate summit began with a 300-strong critical mass bike ride around Bonn. Everything was in good humour, and the bike ride culminates in the main square of Bonn City where they are met by the samba band. Food was provided for the occasion by Rampenplan, and the day ended at Rheinaue Park for a dance.

Crashing The Party

Wednesday July 18th: This evening, a group of initially about 50 activists congregated outside of the Deutsche Telecom building (near the conference centre) where delegates from various NGO's and renewable energy representatives were meeting with the German Minister for the Environment. Under the spell of the rhythmically irresistibly combined forces of London and Amsterdam samba band members, protestors danced in front of the building, handed out copies of the spoof conference paper 'The Earth Crimes' and Carbon Credits (detailing the immorality of emissions trading) to the attendees. We had banners galore reading '60% reductions now', 'profiting from pollution is not the solution' and another which read, 'NGO's, Do your job! Reject Flex Mex', (flex mex = flexible mechanisms, or the piece of jargon that sums up Kyoto's many scams.) The samba band launched into a fresh onslaught of deep latin grooves, while the party attendees were bombarded with propaganda from us as they entered.

Then a truck containing a sound system pulled up in front of the building but after only five minutes the police shut it down, despite the efforts of the samba band who clustered round the truck. In the ensuing melee and with little apparent provocation, one woman was dragged out from underneath the truck, had her hands cuffed tightly behind her back and was driven off.

Whilst all this joyful protest happened outside the party, activists had infiltrated the party disguised as suited delegates. Underneath these innocuous-looking suits were climate super heroines who took their uninvited display to the stage. To the applause and cheers of watching delegates the climate super heroines were chased around the stage by keystone-cop style security who insisted they not have the chance to speak. However they did manage to read off a few of their 'Principles for a Better Protocol' before being roughly dragged out into the street.

Reclaim The Rain

Thursday 19th July: A reclaim the streets action today was dramatically turned into a road blockade by activists from the Rising Tide Network and other groups. Demanding that their twelve-point manifesto be read out in the COP 6.5 conference halls, approximately 90 activists from the 500 strong parade locked arms around a central ring of people chained together for what turned into a four hour clash with police. All sides acted peacefully and although many demonstrators were forcefully carried away the situation was quite calm for most of the afternoon.

Members of the world's press, cameras wrapped against the rain, reporting from close quarters throughout the tense afternoon. Spokespeople for the demonstrators hailed the action as a success in an upbeat discussion this evening, after the police barricades had finally been pulled away and the evening traffic blocked for miles by the action on one of Bonn's main streets, had started moving again.

Banner In The Sky

Sunday 22nd July: Rising Tide people climbed to the top of a 50 metre crane outside the conference centre and unfurled the "60%-80% CO2 reductions here and now" banner from it.

Beaming In

Friday 27th July: In the final session of the latest round of climate talks, climate justice activists occupied a beam in the conference centre hall and unfurled a banner which read 'Trading in Pollution is not the Solution'.

One of the activists explained, 'We are here to bring some common sense back to these negotiations. The US pull-out made everyone so desperate to get any agreement that we've ended up with a deal which is a step in the wrong direction. The current loopholes will mean that the already pitiful 5.2% CO2 reductions could now only be 0.3%*. The trade in emissions lays a foundation for inaction rather than building a framework for the necessary emission reductions. This deal can only serve the interests of big business and reinforce global inequality.'

The welcome that this deal has received from media, governments and the big environmental NGO's masks the real story of the talks. The myth that any deal - no matter how weak - is a step in the right direction should be challenged. One activist who had Article 19 of the UN Convention of Human Rights, freedom of speech, written on her naked body stated 'Not only is this treaty going nowhere for the climate, any public concern or voice about this has been completely repressed by corporate and political interests. As citizens who will be adversely affected by climate change and have not been able to participate in the decisions made about it, we have a right to be heard here and have been forced to take such drastic measures in order to do so.'

After occupying the beam in the conference centre entrance hall for around 45 minutes, the four activists came to an agreement with the UN security (who were unable to get them down safely) that they would come down of their own accord on the condition that they could proceed to the media room and speak to any journalists who were interested in hearing the reasons why they had been forced to take such drastic measures for dissenting voices to be heard within the proceedings.

However, in a sneaky, underhand twist, as soon as the protestors had come off the beam, they were led directly outside to a waiting van of very edgy riot cops, had plastic cuffs put on them and were made to sit in stifling heat in the van for some time to the point where one of the protestors passed out. The UN security chief was heard telling the police that they needed to be severely punished.

The relationship between the police and the protestors has been on the whole very respectful and calm, and these final arrests were no exception once they had been delivered into the hands of the normal police. They were duly processed and then sat in front of the police station having a picnic and drinking cold beer with the prison support crew who had come to greet them.

For more information visit:

The rising tide network

Official website for Bonn COP6.5

*As stated by Greenpeace in their press release July 23