COP 17 protest ends peacefully

2011-12-09 18:41

Durban - A demonstration at the COP 17 climate change conference in Durban ended peacefully on Friday when United Nations police carried out the last protester.

The protest began in the corridors of the Durban convention centre where the UN conference is being held.

It involved about 60 people standing behind a pair of Greenpeace banners proclaiming "Listen to the People, not Polluters".

They chanted slogans, calling on negotiators at the conference to "Seal the deal now!"

The demonstration blocked a ground-floor corridor close to the entrance to the hall in which ministers and senior officials are locked - some say deadlocked - in talks to try and strike a deal on global warming that will prevent catastrophic climate change.

Hundreds of delegates gathered to watch while blue-shirted UN security police formed a line in front of and behind the protesters, who held aloft posters stating "Don't Kill Africa", and chanted and sang songs, including Shosholoza.

At about 16:30, protest leaders called on the protesters to either leave and protest peacefully outside or face having their security cards removed by the police.

About two-thirds eventually chose to leave, but a group of about 20 opted for eviction and sat down on the floor, singing and chanting slogans.

All except two eventually handed over their tags and left the centre, but two refused to budge.

One was carried out and the last, a woman, was picked up by police, placed in a wheelchair and whisked away.

Friday is the last day of the conference, although it is widely expected that negotiators will not reach an end to their talks before Saturday morning, if not later.