2001 events

"America, Join The World Coalition Against Climate Change"

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We want to make the point that US obstructionism on Kyoto threatens far more lives than terrorism, and that if the US wants the rest of the world to cooperate in its 'war on terror' it should cooperate with the rest of the world in "the war on" world-threatening climate change. We march from the Afghan embassy, leaving a letter there and at the Bangladeshi and Ethiopiam embassies nearby (all 3 represent countries stricken by weather-disasters - floods, droughts, cyclones - likely to be related to climate change). We finish at the US embassy witha speech by Jenny Jones (Green Party GLA member)

Shame on Bush!

 

On Saturday 7th we protested ouside the US embassy against US obstructionism at the Earth Summit. This demo was got together at very short notice and so turn out was not high. Nevertheless we got 4 Radio interviews and also appeared on London Weekend TV luchtime news. So we did manage to 'catch the moment' and it was well worth it - thanks to everyone who turned out for this and made this possible!

At the summit the US went out of its way to prove to any doubters that its Environmental Public Enemy Number 1. It did its utmost to obstruct every positive measure and succeeded in blocking targets for Renewable Energy (as championed especially by the Latin American countries).

For all its shortcomings the summit represents something desperately needed, namely effective international cooperative action to halt the world's slide towards economic polarisation and environmental self-destruction: the US has trampled on the fragile hope that this summit offered that something might at last be done. And its clearer than ever that it is short term economic interests, above all those of the fossil fuel interests to which the Bush regime remains so closely tied, that are driving US policy. For that reason above all future generations will never forgive it. In particular ExxonMobil, through front organisations, has been a major driving force behind the sabotage of progress on renewable energy.

The March Against Bush

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On the Saturday after the Bonn Climate Talks (at which the whole world except the US agreed on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol) we march from Lincoln Inn's Fields via the central London offices of Exxon Mobil, Aldwych, through central London to the US embassy.

Bush "unwelcoming" party

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When Bush visits the UK we are ready to greet him! Here we are with our giant 'Bush Wanted' poster (which couldn't fail to make it onto TV) in Trafagar Square. The Bush motorcade swept past but we followed him in a march down The Mall to Buckingham Palace - with another demo at the US embassy that evening.

Election protest

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We demonstrate against climate-unfriendly aspects of both major parties' manifestos but our gatecrashing of a press-call at Tory Party HQ, Smith Square, is particularly satisfying. While Tory worthies are trying to give interviews our 'Lady Planet-in-distress' is shrieking at our 'William Desperate-for-a-vote Hague' who is running her over in his 'Fuel-Tax-Cut Bandwagon' (tricycle). We make it into Channel 4 news.

The Kyoto Rally

The Kyoto Rally was the biggest demo in Britain directly responding to the dumping of the Kyoto treaty by American President, George. W. Bush, in Spring 2001.

PREPARATIONS

Image Getting ready in the morning: What's all this junk in this van? Its far too early in the morning. I'm not really doing this am I? This is not real surely? And is anybody going to turn up anyway?
Image Blimey, this thing really does fit together! Mike Roberts and Vince Stops assemble our (globe-in-a) greenhouse - as flawlessly constructed by Mike, carpenter extraordinaire. The "Globe-in-a-Greenhouse" is to be our giant symbol of the global warming crisis we all face. But Mike hadnt' got round to painting it yet.
Image We set up outside the park : the embassy police say why not set up in the park ? We move into the Park. The Park Police say dont set up in the park. We move out of the Park....the embassy police say...meanwhile the Met police say...etc....etc...

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THE RALLY

Image Hurrah! The crowds have arrived. Though all herded into a narrow space behind barriers.

Whats's Uncle Sam saying into that microphone?
Image Here's that "Globe-in-a-Greenhouse" complete, that is actually with the inflated globe inside it. Meanwhile, in front of it, L to R : Uncle Sam as Grim Reaper (Andrew Lockley), George "Dubya" (Steve Hounsham), Statue of Liberty as global polluter (Auriel Glanville), Uncle Sam (Phil Thornhill).
Image Looks like Southwark Friends of the Earth, here - amongst others. Yes, there were Friends of the Earth people, SWP people, Globalise people, GreenParty people, Greenpeace People, People and Planet people, Save Our World people - and even people people!
Image And here is a Bangladeshi contingent! Bangladesh is one of the countries most threatened by climate change: the low lying cyclone-vunerable Ganges delta could be devestated like never before with terrible consequences for millions. Murad Qureshi (see photo below), spoke on behalf of the Bangladeshi community.

THE SPEAKERS

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Nigel Griffiths, MP (Labour, Edinburgh South) speaking at the Kyoto Rally and being filmed by a CBS cameraman. Footage from the rally appeared on American TV (CBS news) about one month later, thereby ensuring that we reached our ideal audience and got the message to those who most need to hear it.

Image Here he is in close-up: Nigel Griffiths MP, Labour, Edinburgh South. Our demo got a mention in Parliament, the week before!
Image Charles Secrett, top man in Friends of the Earth.
Image Darren Johnson, Green Party GLA (Greater London Authority) member. "Not only has Bush flagrantly breached international treaties.....he doesnt even have a majority mandate at home ..etc...etc..."
Image Murad Qureshi, Westminster councillor and representative of the Bangladeshi community : see photo of Bangladeshis at the rally, above.

 

HANDS AROUND THE EMBASSY

 Image After the speeches we were able to swarm out from behind the barriers and establish a long cordon, holding hands all around the sizable embassy building.

 

THE MARCH

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Image Next everyone formed up and the march started off. Most people had already dissapeared from in front of the embassy when a sound was heard from the other side of the square. Is it... yes, it is! It's the samba band! Stop for the samba band! The band is hurried through to the front of the march and leads us all triumphantly through the streets.

ImageEveryone enjoys marching - or samba-dancing - through the streets.

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AT THE MALDIVES ISLANDS HIGH COMMISSION

Image We finished up at the Maldives Islands High Commission, Marylebone. This was to symbolise the victims of US climate policy: the low lying Maldives islands are threatened with complete submergence from the sea level rise that could be caused by climate change.
Image Roger Higman, chief climate-person at Friends of the Earth, gives a final talk on how developing countries get a bad deal at climate negotiations. That's Vincent Stops, who had a major role in organising the whole thing, with the megaphone.

IT'S ALL OVER

Image Here's some of the demonstrators relaxing at a cafe after the event. What's that Uncle Sam doing there ? You'd have thought he'd have been lynched by now.

 

"U.S. is a dirty rat" demo

 

This was our immediate reaction to Bush's "ratting out" on the Kyoto Protocol....just a few days after the news. A month later we were back in force for our "Kyoto Rally".

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In front of the US embassy (in the days you could get that close!)

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Protest against Bush's U-turn on CO2 emissions from US power stations

 

ImageThe first sign that Bush was going to take a disastrous line on global climate and Kyoto came when he reversed a pre-election commitment to cap CO2 emissions from US power stations. According to Bush CO2 was "not a pollutant". We reacted to the news by expanding our weekly Climate Vigil so that a bunch of us turned up on a very rainy Saturday afternoon, armed with appropriate placards etc...

Left to Right : George W Bush, George W Bush, Vincent stops, George W Bush, George W Bush, Uncle Sam (Phil Thornhill), George W Bush, Lisa Rimmer!

 

Bush Inauguration Demo

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Climate protestors in the shadow of past Presidents..Eisenhower, in the foreground; Franklin D Rooseveldt in the background (statue in the park)

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The President (Noel Cooper, Hackney Friends of the Earth) takes an oath to 'preserve and protect' the planet (our wishful thinking !). Thats Mark Douglas (Hackney Green Party) helping Uncle Sam (Phil Thornhill) with the megaphone. This demo was mainly due to a collaboration between Hackney Friends of the Earth and London Green Party. This sort of collaborative effort on climate change as a number one global threat...was the genesis of the CCC.

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Uncle Sam plays football (or rugby football) with the world. Looks like he's trying to convert it over the eagle at the top of the embassy! Either that or kick it straight into the face of George Lee (standing, arms crossed).Image

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