World climate rallies put pressure on Paris summit to act
PERTH/PARIS: Tens of thousands of people joined one of the biggest global days of climate change activism on Sunday, from Sydney to Berlin, to put pressure on world leaders to unite in fighting global warming at a summit in Paris.
About 20,000 pairs of shoes were laid out in the Place de la Republique in the French capital, from high-heels to boots, to symbolise absent marchers after attacks by Islamic State militants killed 130 people on Nov. 13 and led France to ban a protest that was meant to be at the heart of the global action.
Organisers said the Vatican sent a pair of shoes on behalf of Pope Francis. One activist, dressed in white as an angel with large wings, held a sign saying "coal kills".
More than 2,000 events were being held in cities including Sydney, Berlin, London, Sao Paulo and New York, making it perhaps the biggest day of climate action in history on the eve of the Paris conference which runs from Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
In Sydney, about 45,000 people are estimated to have marched through the central business district towards the Opera House. Among them Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who tweeted it was the largest climate march ever held in the harbour city.
Protesters held placards reading: “There is no Planet B,” and “Say no to burning national forests for electricity”.
U.S. President Barack Obama and China's Xi Jinping will be among more than 140 leaders attending the start of the summit.
In Hong Kong, two protesters carried styrofoam polar bears holding signs reading "homeless and hungry" and "please help" because of melting Arctic ice. In Seoul, hundreds of protesters banged drums and danced.