If talks seem to have reached a stalemate two days before the Copenhagen climate summit comes to an end, environment activists outside the conference have not given up yet. Thousands of protestors surrounded the venue today, resulting in violent clashes with the police and the arrest of 260 people. Our Observer was there.
Since the UN climate conference opened on Dec. 7, hoards of demonstrators have turned up daily to make their voices heard outside the Bella Centre, where the conference is taking place. Today clashes continued with the police when a minority tried once again to break past the police barrier.
“Those few protestors were just looking for trouble; violence was inevitable”
Jack Lenk, a photographer from New York, is following the Copenhagen summit as a member of international NGO Project Survival Media (PSM).
I'm staying in Malmo, across the bay, so I took the train to get to the demo this morning, but we had to get off at Copenhagen airport because protestors were blocking the railway. I then took a taxi and joined the demonstration. Everything was ok, people singing, some music... As I'd managed to get accreditation, I was allowed to get past the police line. Then I heard a few protestors, who were holding a ‘take back the power' banner, saying ‘let's count to five and push past through the police line'. Before that the police had been completely placid. But at that point they had to get out the tear gas. Those few protestors were just looking for trouble; violence was inevitable.
I don't blame the police for the violence, they were only doing their job, and they really had no choice; they had to push back the protesters somehow. I saw one of them get hit in the head with a stick.
They then declared that the protest was illegal and tried to push people back further. I was on the other side and I decided to leave and go upload my photos in the Bella Centre. But apparently some protestors were inside the centre and had started a demo inside. They must have been NGO members if they managed to get in. So the security wouldn't let me in, even with my accreditation, and I had to go back to my hotel to upload the photos to Flickr."
All photos by Jack Lenk.