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Rio+20 ‘People’s march’ – tanks for the energy


Images from Wednesday’s ‘People’s Summit’ march during the UN Rio+20 conference – more details below.

More on the march and the view on the streets – with thanks to WWF’s Franko Petri…

Rio has been a bit like a fortress under siege this week – more than 15,000 policemen are here, plus heavily armed soldiers, and helicopters constantly circle over the city.

The noise can get unbearable – the rotor-blades, traffic, air conditioners – whether you’re at the conference, on the beach or in your hotel room. Even at night, which can make it hard to sleep.

It’s an energy-sapping experience. But Wednesday’s ‘People’s Summit’ march was something of a welcome energy-boost.

Around 50,000 marchers gathered in the city centre – despite the pouring rain – representing hundreds of organisations, unions, civil rights groups, anti-racist and peace campaigners, activists of all shades.

There were samba groups, clowns, actors, giant papier-mache figures, dragons, buses, trucks – even a tank, covered with bread (the famous ‘BreadTank’ delivering the message “Bread not bombs”) – all progressed smoothly, if loudly, through the streets.

Indigenous tribespeople from the depths of the rainforest organised a ‘Timber Run’ – literally running through the streets brandishing tree-trunks – closely chased by hundreds of photographers and camera crews desperately seeking that one world-changing image.

Activists from WWF were out protesting alongside Greenpeace and other NGOs against the destruction of the environment policy of President Dilma Rousseff, and against the ecological threat of the Belo Monte dam, among other issues.

Many people out here on the streets don’t know about the horse-trading that might be going on behind the scenes of such a conference – or what kind of cold deals are being made behind their backs.

We’ve all come out here fighting for social justice, for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest, for a planetary consciousness, for a better future where people and nature thrive.

We hope the same could be said of all the people inside the conference centre.

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