Copenhagen: Clashes Erupt as Deadlock Continues

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Danish police on Wednesday kept thousands of protesters from entering the venue where the United Nations climate talks being held. A police spokesman said 250 people were arrested at various points in Copenhagen, one day before the arrival of heads of state such as US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, China's Hu Jintao, Russian president Medvedev. Near the Bella Centre, I saw four people being arrested. At exactly midday, approximately 500 policemen began moving in on a protest that they had declared illegal. The protest at the Bella Centre was organized by the Climate Justice action network, a Danish group that has coordinate several demonstrations. They had permission for a peaceful protest, but also announced plans to break through the barriers around the centre. The protesters wanted to hold what they called a ‘People’s Summit’ inside the venue at one o’clock, together with non-governmental groups taking parts in the COP15 talks. Several NGO’s, including Friends of the Earth, were denied access on Wednesday. At the moment they were supposed to meet, about one thousand protesters found themselves surrounded by police in riot gear. Outside in the freezing cold with wet snow. Police at several moments used pepper spray and battons. When it became clear that the protesters no longer were able enter the Centre, the police took off their helmets to adopt a less aggressive stance.. Some riot police were given time to do something else while their colleagues practized crowd control. Meanwhile, inside the Bella Centre, tensions were heating up again. Another day without real progress has passed, and, with 24 hours to go before the heads of state of a 110 countries arrive, the Danish climate minister, Connie Hedegaard, was replaced as President of the COP15 meeting. Raymond Frenken, for EUX.TV in Copenhagen. Distributed by Tubemogul.

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