Wearing white boiler suits over their clothes, hundreds of environmental activists and members of the "No Big Ships" Committee took over the famous "red carpet" of the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, demanding concrete actions to curb climate change and a ban on cruise ships entering the lagoon city.
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"We want to address the climate crisis... it is more important than anything that we can see in the world now," the anti-cruise ship activist Chiara Buratti said and asked celebrities to take a position and "join us on the red carpet".
People from different European countries have been taking part in a five-day Climate Camp in Venice, a world heritage city which is going through severe environmental problems related to intensive tourism and pollution.
"The climate crisis has no borders, why should we stop at some border and just care about some local problems," Sina Reisch, from the German group Ende Gelande, said and added that "struggles are connected."
In order to reduce these problems, Italian citizens formed a movement which demands greater control over large cruise ships crossing the Venetian lagoon daily.
The Venezia Festival's red carpet has been occupied. This morning about 300 international activists from the Climate Camp took the red carpet. Security forces are surrounding them. A Climate March is expected at the afternoon.
Waving banners that read "our home is on fire" and "no to cruise ships", protesters sat outside the main festival venue and chanted slogans as the Italian police surrounded them.
Venice, which is built on a very fragile environmental balance between land and water, is becoming a perfect emblem of the sort of problems that can be generated at a limited ecological system, which is continually affected by a growing flow of large tourist boats.
"From our Venice, which will be one of the first cities to suffer the effects of rising sea levels, we want to make a call to change a path withouth future, stop the policy of building large infrastructures, halt deterioration of soils and protect biodiversity," environmental activist Marco Baravalle said.
"Just as we don't have a planet B, we don't have a spare Venezia either."