Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Madrid on Friday night after a frustrating week of negotiations at the UN’s annual climate change conference.
Among the marchers were Spanish environmental organisations, as well as delegates fresh from a day of COP25 negotiations and the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who had just completed her transatlantic voyage.
They were also accompanied by many local people and families, who came out to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere and join the call for action on climate change.
Organisers placed the number of protesters at half a million, while local police estimated there were more like 15,000 people in attendance.
With their demands for urgent action contrasting sharply with the slow, bureaucratic proceedings taking place at COP25, Carbon Brief attended the protest and asked marchers what message they wanted to send to those in power:
“The most important thing at this COP and the next COP is ambition, ambition, ambition, to get the [Paris] rulebook out of the way this time and to make sure that we know how we are going to deliver on the commitments in the Paris Agreement.”
“The COP has been negotiating for longer than I have been alive, and it’s time for leaders to hear the message that the people are out here saying – and they can’t ignore any longer – that we need climate action now, and we especially need justice for those communities most affected by the impacts of climate change, for which they were the least responsible.”
Guillermo Herranz, Stop the Meltdown:
“We are all here because we want change, and it doesn’t matter the country, the lifestyle or where you are from…we have to work all together for climatic change.”