Worldwide climate rallies draw tens of thousands

Policemen fight with activists during a protest ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference at the place de la Republique, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP)

PARIS (AP) — Tens of thousands of people have taken part in rallies around the world on Sunday, calling on leaders to halt climate change on the eve of a major conference in Paris. Because of a state of emergency in France imposed after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, many of the rallies are taking place outside the country.

But French police and activists clashed in Paris, with riot police firing tear gas to disperse protesters throwing projectiles. Here are some of the rallies that took place on Sunday.

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PARIS

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in central Paris and formed a human chain along the route of a long-planned protest march that was banned by France’s Socialist government in a security crackdown following the Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

The Paris police chief said that about 100 people were later detained after a protest seeking a global climate deal turned violent in Place de la Republique square. Michel Cadot told reporters that police identified about 200 or 300 people who violated a ban on all protests under the country’s state of emergency. Cadot said that about 100 people who were found to have projectiles or other suspicious objects were detained.

Cadot said that demonstrators, some masked, pelted security forces with glass bottles and even candles placed at Place de la Republique to honor victims of the Nov. 13 attacks.

Police fired numerous rounds of tear gas on protesters to disperse them. The protesters were gathering ahead of critical global warming talks outside Paris beginning on Monday.

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SPAIN

Thousands of people took to the streets of several Spanish cities to demand a commitment from world leaders to halt climate change in what organizers are calling the largest pro-environment mobilization in Spain to date.

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace both said around 20,000 protesters marched between Cibeles and Puerta del Sol in Madrid, while thousands also marched through cities such as Barcelona, ??Bilbao, Las Palmas, Murcia, Pamplona, ??Seville, Valladolid and Zaragoza.

The gatherings were organized by the Alliance for the Climate and call on world leaders to reach “a fair, ambitious and binding agreement to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and accelerate the transition toward renewable sources of energy by 2050.

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LONDON

Thousands of people marched through London, urging world leaders not to blow their chance to take strong action on climate change.

Actress Emma Thompson, designer Vivienne Westwood and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are among demonstrators urging politicians to strike a binding agreement at climate talks in Paris.

Corbyn told the crowd that the talks were “an enormous opportunity” to tackle “pollution, climate change, inequality, environmental refugees, war refugees and resources wars. If we are to make a real difference in Paris, all these issues have got to be thought about and addressed.”

Thompson said that climate change, once seen as a fringe cause, was now “the issue of the 21st century.”

Numbers at the London march from Hyde Park to the Whitehall government district were swelled by a ban on a protest march in Paris.

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GERMANY

About 4,000 people held a rally in the German capital, marching from Berlin’s train station to the Brandenburg Gate to listen to speeches and music.

The protesters called on the delegates at the Paris conference to set ambitious targets.

“I hope that there is a climate agreement that really helps, but I fear actually that the countries and government leaders will only agree to something that won’t help, primarily a weak agreement that will not help the living conditions on this planet,” said Dr. Anton Hofreiter, member of the Green Party in Germany’s parliament.