Protesters worldwide call for action on climate

Hundreds of thousands of people marched worldwide to demand action to stop climate change, but one protest in Paris was marred by violence.

A protester dressed as the green man prepares to march during the London Climate March. Picture: Getty Images

More than 2,000 events took place globally yesterday on the eve of a UN summit in the French capital.

In Paris, police fired tear gas at a large group of demonstrators gathered in the Place de la Republique.

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They were apparently protesting against France’s state of emergency and have been disowned by the main organisers.

The order, banning public gatherings, was put into place after the 13 November attacks in the city, in which 130 people died. Many of those involved in the clashes wore masks or covered their faces. Protesters and police walked over candles and tributes left for the attack victims at a makeshift memorial.

Elsewhere in Europe, organisers said some 10,000 people turned out in Berlin. with close to that in Madrid.

An estimated 50,000 people took part in a march in central London.

Activists want action to limit the rise in the average global temperature to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels.

Further demonstrations were held in Sao Paulo, Mexico City and New York, among other cities. About 150 world leaders are due to attend the Paris talks including US President Barack Obama, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Environmental campaigners and charity leaders in London yesterday were joined by celebrities including actresses Emma Thompson and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood as they called on politicians to agree on an ambitious new climate agreement.

Addressing the crowds before the march was Westwood who said: “The rotten financial system is the cause of all our problems – poverty, war, climate change.”

Actress Thompson, who did not address the rally, added: “I’m here today to support everyone on Earth actually.”

Friends Of The Earth chief executive Craig Bennett, who attended today’s march in London, said the huge numbers that turned out in the capital and elsewhere around the world sent a signal that governments can not ignore.

He said: “This is a fantastic display of people power with thousands upon thousands taking to the streets to demand urgent action on climate change.”