Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Activists arrested in Copenhagen protests

Danish police made around 250 arrests in Copenhagen Wednesday morning as an organized demonstration against the U.N. climate talks converged on the Bella Center ahead of crucial negotiations at the COP15 summit.

Kristina Larsen, a spokeswoman for Climate Justice Action (CJA) -- the group organizing the protest -- told CNN that police have used pepper spray and dogs to contain the protests.

Around 3,000 activists convened at two railway stations in the Danish capital early on Wednesday and began their march towards the Bella Center -- the scene of the climate talks.

CJA is calling for activists to "take over the conference for one day and transform it into a 'People's Assembly'."

At the same time protesters were marching towards the U.N. summit, a number of delegates were planning to walk out of the Bella Center.

Larsen told CNN: "Around 300 people have marched out of the Bella Center shouting 'reclaim power'."

But the planned "People's Assembly" which was due to take place outside the building has, so far, been disrupted by the police.

Reporting from inside the Bella Center CNN's Phil Black said that several hundred activists were near the perimeter of the conference center.

"There have been some clashes and scuffles, and the police have fired some tear gas, but the protests have been reasonably low-level." Black said.

CJA say they are holding a "People's Assembly" to counter the "false solutions and elitism of the U.N. climate talks."

A spokesman for the Copenhagen police told CNN that the majority of arrests have taken place outside the Bella Center but there have been no serious injuries.

"The protesters detained have been taken to a temporary holding facility and most are expected to be released in the next two hours," the Police spokesman said.

On Sunday, police said they had detained 968 people, accusing protesters of donning facemasks, throwing fireworks and stones, breaking windows and setting vehicles alight. A further 212 people were arrested overnight on Monday.


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