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News > Spain

'Not Halting Climate Change Means Punishing Millions' XR Says

  • Extinction Rebellion activist is escorted by police officers after staging a protest at Cibeles Fountain in Madrid, Spain, Dec. 3, 2019.

    Extinction Rebellion activist is escorted by police officers after staging a protest at Cibeles Fountain in Madrid, Spain, Dec. 3, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 December 2019

During a pre-recorded keynote address, which was delivered at the 2019 UN climate summit in Madrid, President Sebastian Piñera avoided talking about human rights violations in Chile.

Environmental activists from around the world on Tuesday remain gathered and protesting in Madrid to demand that the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) take concrete and effective actions to halt global climate change.


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"We're a global movement trying to raise the climate emergency through direct action. We have to get people to pause and understand, especially our leaders, we need systemic change," Extinction Rebellion (XR) activist Sam Smithson, said.

As a prelude to the counter-summit to be held on Friday, environmental and social organizations are deploying actions in rejection of "the corporate greed" that runs over ecosystems and life.

Extinction Rebellion activists got into the Cibeles Fountain to simulate the drowning of both those migrants who "are forced to cross the seas" and those peoples who suffer the effects of floods.

"Not taking measures to halt the climate crisis means punishing millions of people who suffer social and environmental catastrophes. We cannot continue to make gestures or toasts," XR spokesperson Saul Flores explained.

"I have to play and study but our leaders have ruined all our lives... I'm here, to demand from India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pass a climate change law as soon as possible," said eight-year-old girl Licypriya Kangujam, who arrived from India with her father to participate in the rallies.

Human rights organizations have also joined the protests against the COP25, a summit which is formally chaired by Chile, the only Latin American country where water sources have been completely privatized in favor of large mining and agricultural corporations.

"At COP25, countries and multinationals are going to make decisions about our future ... we ask them to tell the truth and find real solutions," XR activist lanca Lagunas stressed.

During a pre-recorded COP25 keynote address, Chile's President Sebastian Piñera on Monday avoided talking about human rights violations carried out by the Military police under his command.

On the contrary, he blamed citizens of a wave of "criminal violence." At the same time, however, social networks were posting dozens of images of police brutality against Chileans.

Piñera "wants to spread internationally a distorted image of the social crisis", outlet El Desconcierto commented. He spoke of "the powerful and implacable internal enemy," instead of referring to citizens' requests related to "inequality generated by the economic and social system."

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