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Global protests as key UN climate talks stumble

PARIS – From Bangkok to Paris and San Francisco, tens of thousands of people across the world took to the streets on Saturday to demand governments take action against climate change, as key UN talks attempt to breathe life into the Paris Agreement.

Nearly 1,000 events were organised in around 100 countries as part of the “Rise for Climate” protest movement that called on countries to end their reliance on fossil fuels and transition fully into renewable energy. 

Organisers in France claimed 115,000 people turned out in what would be the largest environmental demonstration in the country’s history, with 50,000 marching in Paris, however, police put the number in the capital at 18,500.

“This is the biggest day of climate action in France, it’s proof that the citizens are ready to demand commitments from our elected officials after a catastrophic summer when it comes to the climate,” said Clemence Dubois, the France campaigner for 350.org.  

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also referenced the recent severe weather events.

“Extreme weather is threatening our children. The only way to protect our future is ambitious #ClimateAction now,” he tweeted.

Some 200 protesters assembled in front of the UN regional headquarters in Bangkok, where delegates were discussing how to implement measures agreed by world powers under the 2015 Paris Accord on climate change.

More than 10,000 people turned out in Danish capital Copenhagen, police there said, while 1,300 rallied in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.

As part of protests in Australia, a tall ship moved through Sydney Harbour in front of the Opera House as activists on board held up protest signs.

Its billowing sails featured banners that read “Rise for Climate; Action with 350” — referring to environment advocacy group 350 which spearheaded the global protest.

In Manila, more than 800 people, including one dressed as a T-Rex holding a “Go Fossil Free” sign, marched through the streets protesting the country’s heavy reliance on coal. 

Along with Bangkok, the Philippine capital is projected to be among the world’s hardest hit urban areas by climate change impacts.

Around 10,000 school students and their teachers in northern India tied red ribbons to trees in a call to end deforestation.

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