17 Dec 2009
Reclaim The Power March in Copenhagen 16/12
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“And the riot squad they’re restless

They need somewhere to go”
– Bob Dylan in Desolation Row

A coalition of activists from around the world, absolutely fed up with the long drawn ‘negotiation’ on climate change for ages, decided to present their version. These activists are predominantly young, who have no faith or trust left with the elderly and ‘practical’ not so old politicians of the world, do not actually think that COP15 has anything to do with solving climate crisis. They see a sinister design of capitalism trying to reclaim the last of the commons left in the planet.

They categorically wanted to have a peaceful march, as they were worried about the safety and legality of comrades joining from the global South. They wanted to enter Bella Centre, a fortress by now as the global leaders start arriving to decide/sign a phoney deal, and hold a peoples’ negotiation inside. They had also worked out with several negotiators and delegates from the global South, who were to come out of Bella Centre and join the peaceful protest to lend their support.

The assembled group at Tarnby station managed to walk to the north east corner of Bella Centre, where they were greeted with stun-guns, pepper spray, tear gas, and an overwhelming number of police in riot suits. The group that assembled at a station next to Bella Centre tried their best to break the police cordon and most of them got arrested, handcuffed, and made to sit on a damp open field. When a TV journalist asked an activist why they were arrested, she screamed that she did not know, as she was only trying to go to a ’shopping mall’. These activists have been consistently demanding that carbon trade be ended, and see Bella Centre as a new business centre.

It was surprising to see how much determined a north European government can be to handle a peaceful march of young activists, asking for a real climate deal. The police made no effort to be look civilised, even in the presence of a large band of international press. The marchers who tried to reach Bella Centre by scaling police’s riot vans, were beaten up, and arrested. A lot of bleeding activists were seen all around being attended by medicos, also part of the march. An overwhelming number of activists were seen stunned by pepper spray and attended by medicos with eyedrops and water.

At this hour, there is a stalemate. The activists are holding on to the road adjacent to Bella Centre, completely outnumbered by riot squads. Police with dogs are seen on the fields to handle any activists trying to reach Bella Centre through the fields. A helicopter keeps on hovering on top of them. Normally, climate change activists are taken as harmless lots. But for a change, in this rally, there was no one dressed up as penguin or polar bear. On the other hand, they talked about a change in the system, and called for an end to profit. The paranoid response of the state is pretty understandable.

And the delegates who wanted to come out and join the protesters were simply told to stay away, as the assembly was already notified as an illegal one and could face arrest. Some of the activists dressed as clowns were playing games with the cops, and chanting was heard: ‘you are sexy, you are cute, get out of your riot suit’!

with a cardboard wire cutter, a joke.

arrested activists

activists create barricade with their bicycles

first activist who went up the police van

stunned by pepper spray

police armoured cars break activists' barricade

tear gas

dogs and their cops guard Bella Centre

"you're sexy, you're cute / get out of your riot suit"

an activist lost his/her bread

confiscated truck of the activists

activists, still holding on, surrounded by riot squad. Bella Centre is on the left

take home message