An update from Julia about the movements surrounding the negotiations:
Apologies for not writing for a while. The past few days in Copenhagen have been something of an alternate reality, a place that you might dream of during general frustrations concerning the workings of this mad world. Yesterday, I attended a panel and general assembly with Naomi Klein, Michael Hardt, and one of the lead organizers of the "Reclaim the Power" action (who has now been stealthily arrested by plainclothed officers while coming out of the UN conference center. Yet another one of the 1300+ preemptive arrests here in Copenhagen.) The meeting was held at Christiania, a freetown that was built in the '70s - a haven for art, activism, and unconventional thinking. Beautiful graffiti everywhere, lights in the trees, and activists from all over the world coming together to hear Naomi Klein.
Friends, the sight nearly brought me to tears.
The energy in the tent was so powerful - people wanted to be mobilized, motivated, energized. I climbed a scaffolding and ended up with an excellent seat, for the space was so packed that people were sitting on top of each other. It was very emotional to see the global North and South come together in this arena - there were folks from Guatemala, Uganda, Italy...the list goes on. Discussions involved alternative energy examples from around the world, logistics for the "Reclaim the Power" action, climate change effects on various communities, and goals for the People's Assembly to be held on Wednesday, which would include the indigenous governments, autonomous nations, and NGOs excluded from the UN conference. International solidarity was rich and in the air.
As I strolled around Christiania later that night, suddenly a wave of tear gas came flooding through its streets. What came next was nothing less than a siege. Earlier, the police had sent a helicopter to watch over what had a been a very nice party in Christiania, shining its powerful spotlight into our faces...and suddenly they were behind the trees at either entrance. I'm not sure about how it all started, but what ensued was equivalent to a war film on hyperspeed. According to a long-time resident of Christiania, the community is under constant surveillance by the police. As the black block built fires to protect their home, the police rushed the community and I was trapped for a few hours in a center area - all dark except for the police flashlights, helicopter searchlight, and the bouncing cigarette tips of folks trying to escape. Finally, we were let out after a few random groups were cornered and taken away.
That night brought up many new questions, questions of police mentality and protest culture. If it were not 2:44am, perhaps I would explore them a bit more here. And so it goes.
Read some real COP15 news at http://indymedia.dk/ and http://icop15.org.
Good night, dear friends.
*Christiania photo - credit to commons.wikimedia.org.
*Raid photo - credit to http://twitpic.com/photos/christianianews