Thousands march for climate justice in Durban

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Thousands of people, including members of civil society groups from various countries, on Saturday marched to the venue of the UN climate change talks here demanding quick action from world leaders to save the planet.

Dressed in colourful costumes and carrying giant balloons and placards with slogans like 'Listen to the people not polluters' and 'Save the planet', the protesters marched from Botha's Garden in the city to the International Convention Centre (ICC).

Civil society groups have dubbed Saturday as the 'global day of action' at the Conference of the Parties (COP17) being held in this port city from Nov 20 to Dec 9.

The participants included special needs groups, children and women, farmers, daily wage workers and students. Many religious organisations joined the march at Speakers' Corner.

Some of the participants danced to the beats of the drums, staged street plays demanding urgent action from world leaders.

"We are here to fight for our rights and tell the world leaders that they should think for the poor and vulnerable. It is our planet and because of action of some rich nations why should the whole world suffer," said a greenpeace activist.

Global Day of Action committee convenor Desmond D'sa said: "World leaders are discussing the fate of our planet but they are far from reaching a solution to climate change."

"If they fail to make progress we will see droughts and hunger blight our country and continent even further. We remind our leaders they must come to a fair climate change deal that avoids runaway climate change," he said.

They handed over their demands and statements to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres at the ICC.

There was large presence of police force around the convention centre to avoid any inconvenience to delegates and other participants.

Nothing substantial has come out of the first week of negotiations but with several heads of states and ministers participating in the second week starting Monday, progress on certain issues is expected.

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