'We don't want violence, we want to get our voices heard' says protesters

Protesters on 'Reclaim Power' day set to face zero-tolerance approach by police

A A A

One thousand of them have already been arrested, and tomorrow will bring protesters' largest, angriest demonstration in the Danish capital – right outside the building where the crucial negotiations are underway.

Mass arrests are likely as a predicted 5,000 demonstrators descend on the Bella Centre on the same day as many world leaders are scheduled to arrive.

The hardline climate-change activists have come prepared with maps, bicycles – and swimming goggles, to protect against police use of tear gas and pepper spray. The event is being billed as "Reclaim Power" day, threatening both the security of the building and the fragile state of the talks within.

The activists have divided into several groups co-ordinated by Climate Justice Action. One group has been awarded an official permit allowing them to demonstrate just outside the site, while another will remain mobile. Still more protesters will form "bike blocs", arriving on contraptions made from reclaimed bicycles welded together. All will be provided with detailed maps of road blocks and precise instructions on where to go. As at the G20 demonstrations in London in March, protesters have signed up to a text message service allowing them to change their plans at short notice.

This time the demonstration is likely to include members of the extreme fringes of the green movement – many of the NGOs which took part in the G20 demos, such as Greenpeace, have their own tables in the Bella Centre.

Richard Bernard, a spokesman for Climate Justice Action, said: "It's going to be a day where we really disrupt the summit and say 'You're not talking any more, we're talking now,' because we are the people who are affected by this. We don't wish to be violent in any way, but we do want to get our voices heard."

The group said they intended the demonstration to be "non-violent but confrontational", admitting that there was no way they could prevent activists who might have different ideas from attending.

The demonstration will put added pressure on the conference organisers, who have been struggling to cope with the sheer number of people descending on the site each day. Yesterday, hundreds of delegates, NGO representatives and journalists were left standing outside in freezing temperatures for up to nine hours after the UN's accreditation system broke down.

Police have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to the activists, handcuffing anyone who commits minor misdemeanour and sitting them on the street for at least an hour. Yesterday morning, they persevered with this pre-emptive policy, pulling over cars and bicycles on the main routes into the city and searching them.

A police spokesman said: "We're stopping people and removing things that could be used as protective gear in protests, such as gasmasks and shields. We want to stop them before they reach the targets. If you're bringing with you protection gear then your intentions aren't peaceful."

As four people appeared in court yesterday for offences committed over the weekend – two for assaulting public servants, one for disturbing the peace and another for trying to free an arrested person – any hope that the police might relax their tactics was extinguished.

Lars Borg of Copenhagen Police said that his force were prepared "24 hours a day" for anything the demonstrators might be planning.

"We know that some will try to get into the Bella Centre... but we are very prepared. They do not have a chance."

"We will keep up the pressure on the violent activists. As long as they are peaceful, they can do anything they want. But we are also ready to use force if necessary."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?