This sunny Thursday morning, as COP attendees arrived for the session of the COP/MOP, there were nine youth standing in a rough V shape to meet them. In their hands they held large cardboard signs, making the following statement in six languages: Remember your son (or daughter, depending on the sign).
After yesterday’s youth meeting, some of the young activists of this world planned out this action. They wrote a proposal delineating exactly what would be done this morning, from 9AM-10AM, which was submitted for approval. That approval was granted. Despite this, after 40 minutes of exchanging smiles with delegates and receiving regards and kudos from many, security decided that it was time to exercise some of their power. Security guards, much like the Tyrannasaurus Rex of legend, have brains roughly the size of one of those “squeeze-me stress balls” you can buy on various counters in American stores. Something had squeezed their stress balls the wrong way, and so they decided to come up to us, look big, and deny that the permission we had received was valid. They claimed that the authorization we had received was inadequate, though it is, as far as we are aware, the definitive authorization available at the UNFCCC. Regardless, they proceeded to take every last one of our signs. Both groups were amiable the whole time, as the security guards believed we were just cute fools with bad communication skills, and we decided that this wasn’t a battle worth fighting. The guards even ordered Matt, our eagle-eyed photographer, to delete pictures of them dispersing us. JuanPa, Matt, and the young woman among us, Nathalie, who was our spokesperson when we were dispersed, are currently meeting with security and the woman in charge of authorizing demonstrations. Whatever the outcome, it appears this morning’s demonstration was both thoughtful and effective. Some delegates told us about their children, while a couple Kenyan delegates told us that this was all very impressive and asked our permission to have their picture taken with us. It was, of course, granted. More later.