Today was quite an action-packed day and, and I mean it literally. We participated in a protest organized by the Women and Gender Constituency to show our disapproval of the way climate negotiations were being conducted. Of course, you need prior permission to do anything here else you could be barred from the conference and your card is taken away. So it was an ‘authorised protest’. But you still can’t stand near the entrance where all the top dignitaries arrive for the COP. There is a passageway through which everyone including people involved in negotiations and others pass through to enter the building. So we stood on the edges of the escalators in the passage and held placards with slogans on them. The placard that I and another person were holding said ‘Violation of Rights, Not in My Name’.
To be honest, earlier I thought that it wouldn’t hold much meaning to just stand there with a placard. But I think when you consider the reaction of the people- both positive and negative, and also you have in your mind that the place that you are at, is perhaps where our future would be decided, it does affect you deeply.
It is easy to identify people involved in the negotiations from their tags. Their bottom of their card is in a dark shade of pink with the words ‘party’ printed prominently on them. What really surprised me was that many of them would read the slogans and then look away from where we stood, and not make eye contact with us even when they were quite near. A woman on the escalator looked at the placard and said to us, “I don’t understand what you are talking about”, and continued on her way.
But there were a lot of people who smiled when they saw us. Others would wink at us, some would take pictures, make videos and some would just give us thumbs up. They seemed pretty happy to see us and, somehow you could instantly feel a connection.
There were a lot of people participating in the action. I didn’t know anyone’s name or where they were from. But at the end of the day, it just didn’t matter.
[We will post another message about this action, so stay tuned!]