Climate change protest starts tonight

CLIMATE change activists who are planning a protest in the City at next month’s G20 summit are to begin their demonstration tonight.

More than 1,000 activists are expected to arrive in Bishopsgate for a “weekend of activity” ahead of a plan to camp out for the duration of the convention of world leaders.

The group Climate Camp will spend this evening playing hunting games to familiarise themselves with the area and tomorrow there will be a day-long seminar discussing the problems of carbon trading.

On Sunday, the protesters will hold action-planning meetings involving legal training, direct action training and other planning for 1 April.

At exactly 12.30pm that day – the day before the summit – the group will descend on the European Climate Exchange in Bishopsgate, setting up camp outside the offices for 24 hours of “flashcamping” protest and demonstration.

Their aim is to “transform the financial district, both symbolically and visually, into a physical manifestation of our desired worlds, with wind turbines, tents, and action plans”.

It is believed it will be one of the biggest demonstrations yet by the group, which has become notorious for carrying out direct action campaigns protesting against the expansion of Heathrow airport and Kingsnorth power station.

Climate camper Gary Still said: “The Climate Camp is about action, education and sustainability, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in the Square Mile on 1 April.

“The G20 want to get the world back onto the track of endless economic growth, and that will take us careering into the face of runaway climate change.”

The protesters blame carbon traders for being complicit in causing environmental problems. The activists’ recruitment advert says that “by creating a brain-bending system of carbon pollution licenses, fossil fuel companies and trading firms have found a way to keep on churning out global warming gases and to reap huge windfall profits at the same time”.

It adds: “They are speculating with our climate and the very future of life on earth – and our governments are cheering them on. Don’t let them get away with it.”

On 2 April, as world leaders meet at the ExCel centre in Docklands, tens of thousands of protesters are expected to descend on the City with police planning the biggest street security operation since the May Day riots nine years ago.

More than 5,000 Met and City of London police officers will be deployed to maintain order and protect foreign leaders.

Climate camper Rachel Greenthorpe said: “We’re going to be in Bishopsgate rather than the site of the actual G20, because we have a different agenda.”

On 28 March, thousands will march through London on the Put People First campaign challenging the G20 on the global financial crisis.

Benedict Moore-Bridger