S.Africa urged to allow protests at climate talks

23rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Environmental group Greenpeace called Tuesday for South Africa to allow "ample room" for protest at the next round of UN climate talks, which the country will host from November 28 to December 9.

"Greenpeace Africa urges South Africa's government to allow ample room for freedom of expression and peaceful protest during the international climate negotiations taking place in Durban later this year," the group said in a statement.

"South Africa has the responsibility to listen to the people who are calling for a better and cleaner future for all, and make the right decisions both internationally and domestically," said Greenpeace Africa climate campaigner Ferrial Adam.

The group praised a Danish court that Monday handed two-week suspended prison sentences to 11 Greenpeace activists arrested at the 2009 talks in Copenhagen.

The activists gate-crashed a royal gala by disguising themselves as guests, unfurling banners that read "Politicians Talk, Leaders ACT".

The sentences imposed by the court amounted to a slap on the wrist given the public prosecutor's request for jail terms of up to 70 days.

Environmentalists have criticised the Copenhagen talks as a political morass that yielded no binding commitment on cutting greenhouse gases.

South African organisers have been called to do better at this year's talks in Durban, which activists say could be the last chance to renew the emissions reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

"With the Durban climate meeting fast approaching, world leaders must not repeat the failures of Copenhagen, but instead take strong and urgent action for the climate," Adam said.

© 2011 AFP

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