As part of the Global Day of Action, Greenpeace organised simultaneous protests in more than 15 cities across India. A human chain in Chennai and a rally in New Delhi were among the events. People sang, played instruments and marched, demanding that the leaders of every country act, today.

Despite light rain and the prospect of cyclone-induced winds, scores of people from different walks of life formed a human chain on Chennai's Marina on Saturday evening, demanding that the developed countries accept their responsibility to cut carbon emissions at the Copenhagen conference on climate change.

People linked hands from the Gandhi Statue towards the Labour Statue in the event co-ordinated by Greenpeace India. It involved the participation of several organisations such as International Youth for Climate Network, Pasumai Thayagam, WWF, Bhoomi Trust and Redifine, Reunite India.

To the Government of India, the participants made the demand that the country be put on the path of green development using renewable sources of energy. The greatest barrier to the adoption of renewables such as solar photovoltaics was the up-front cost, and the Centre should adopt an energy plan that would make these technologies affordable to the average citizen. The participants are demanding a “real deal” at Copenhagen that brings about real cuts in emissions based on the legacy of carbon emissions, and the impending rise in greenhouse gases in developing countries, said a spokesman for Greenpeace.

Director Vasanth, actor Rohini and other activist figures from various walks of life participated in the human chain, which marks the beginning of a series of “Open Days” that will be held by Greenpeace at Hotel Royal Regency, Poonamallee High Road in Chennai, near the Central railway station. The themes to be covered during the five days are biodiversity, water security and protection, waste management, energy and efficiency including transportation. The special events will go on till the final day of the Copenhagen conference.

Protests in Delhi

In a press release, Greenpeace said citizens stepped out onto the street in the national capital to voice their demand for a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty to avert catastrophic climate change. The citizens’ march included civil society groups, artists, and youngsters from schools and colleges who joined to “Bajao” (play musical instruments) for the Global Day of Action.

Archbishop Vincent Concesseo flagged off the 6 km rally from Rajghat to Parliament Street. He said, “The time for everyone to act is now - especially the leadership.” This was part of an unprecedented mass mobilisation demanding climate action. Indians joined millions of people across the world on this historic occasion.

People played musical instruments, sang, and beat on plates and drums, to indicate that they will not accept anything short of a real deal as an outcome of the Copenhagen talks. “Millions of people in India are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Our monsoons are being hit, and our glaciers receding rapidly. We cannot squander this opportunity to avert runaway climate change. Our message to the 120-odd Heads of State who arrive next week in Copenhagen is loud and clear: The time to change the future is now,” said Naveen Mishra, from Global Climate Campaign.

“It is clear that the citizens of India will no longer be silent spectators while world leaders decide the fate of our planet. We want them to take action now and not later. Runaway climate change is going to render millions more homeless in India. As a person who lives on the street, that is not a future I would wish on anyone,” said Vipin from the Beghar Foundation.

As part of the Global Day of Action, Greenpeace organised simultaneous protests in more than 15 cities across India. As a highpoint of the march they unfurled a 700 metre long banner with messages from citizens across the country from Kochi to Kashmir. The banner will become part of the ‘sign a real deal’ wall at the Climate Satyagraha Camp at the Constitution Club from December 13.

In India, actions around the Copenhagen talks are being organised by the Climate Satyagraha Camp, a civil society coalition formed to make India’s voice heard at the Climate Summit taking place in Copenhagen from 7-18 December, 2009.

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