by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Copenhagen (COP15): Friends of the Earth representatives have been barred from the UN climate talks in the Bella Centre in Copenhagen on the morning of Wednesday, December 16, 2009.

Every delegate from the international environmental campaign group arrived at the centre on that particular morning to find their badges were no longer valid. This would appear to be an arbitrary act by the authorities and no reason for this was given.

Friends of the Earth representatives from countries ranging from Nigeria to Japan and Denmark have been taking part in the negotiations over the past two weeks calling for a strong and fair agreement, with rich countries leading the way with emissions cuts of at least 40 per cent by 2020.

Friends of the Earth is petitioning UN climate secretary Yvo De Boer to protest against the ban and calling for members of the public to add their name at

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "It is a crisis of democracy when campaigning charities like Friends of the Earth are prevented from speaking up on behalf of communities around the globe within the talks themselves.

"We were stunned to discover that every Friends of the Earth delegate has been banned from attending these crucial talks – if this is a consequence of our role as one of the most prominent groups calling for a strong and fair agreement, this is even more disturbing.

"This draconian measure is completely unjustified - the Copenhagen conference is fast becoming an international shambles."

Friends of the Earth International Chair Nnimmo Bassey had the following statement: "We are surprised and shocked that Friends of the Earth member groups from around the world and other non-governmental organizations have been denied access to the negotiations this morning.

"Our organisations represent millions of people around the world and provide a critical voice for climate justice inside the UN."

Notes to Editors:

1. Friends of the Earth is demanding that the Government changes its approach to climate change with its Demand Climate Change campaign. At the Copenhagen talks, Friends of the Earth is calling for:

  • Rich countries to fulfil their legal and moral responsibility cut emissions first and fast - and pledge to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 at home without offsetting

  • The leaders of rich countries to abandon their promotion of carbon trading - an irresponsible and dangerous gamble which will do nothing to protect us from catastrophic climate change; Proposals to be scrapped which would allow rich countries to buy chunks of forest whilst continuing to pump out emissions: an approach which won't solve climate change or halt deforestation.

When we see actions like this, together with the heavy handed approach of the Danish police against the climate change activists, regardless of whether some of them may be misguided due to falsified scientific data, then we must wonder where Europe is headed.

As a Gypsy I can see where it is headed and all I can say to that is “Welcome to the Fourth Reich” for the more I see the more I get concerned.

Armed security guards in Kent near the power stations that have been given police powers of unprecedented proportions is just one of the signs of that. The was the G20 protests were policed another and the policing of the COP15 in Copenhagen definitely yet another, not to speak about the ethnic cleansing of Gypsy People in Italy by decree and permission, basically, of the European Union authorities.

© 2009