Members from civil society groups staged a major sit-in style protest outside of Pavilion 3 at the RioCentro convention center on Thursday before marching out en-mass, carrying banners and chanting the slogan “The future we want….is not here!” In a symbolic rejection of the negotiating text of the Rio+20 declaration, participants turned in their badges to UN security before boarding a bus for the People’s Summit in the Flamingo Park neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Civil society protesters were angered by what they perceived as an abandonment of environmental and social equity principles in favor of an economy-focused agenda.
Interview conducted by Michael McCullough.
The staged civil disobedience, which organizers advertised as a “People’s Plenary,” was in violation of the Rio+20 rules, which require a permit for every major event held at the Summit. However, Rio+20 organizers and security were reluctant to disperse the crowd, which was thronged by a swarm of media reporting for major news outlets.
The sit-in ran intermittently from roughly 1:00 PM until the group’s departure shortly after 4:00PM. The protest was spearheaded by youth climate leaders and also included members of civil society groups representing women and indigenous communities. During the sit-in, leaders read a mock text entitled “The Future we Bought,” as a satirical jab at the conference’s trademark slogan, “The Future we Want.”
Interview conducted by Nikolaj Fischer.
Protestors stressed that while the document saves political face for the Brazilian delegation and the participant countries involved in the Summit, it fails to deliver on important promises to protect the environment, including measures to protect the world’s oceans and measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Protestors also decried omissions in the text that would have ended handouts to large-scale polluters and would have addressed the human right to food and water.
Nikolaj Fischer contributed to this article.