Watch: Calls for Gaza ceasefire ring out in Dubai as 2,000 protesters march on COP28 grounds

From the UAE to Uganda, more than 300 cities are standing up for Palestine, the activists say

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Angel Tesorero

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Photo by Angel Tesorero
Photo by Angel Tesorero

Published: Sat 9 Dec 2023, 3:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Dec 2023, 8:44 PM

About 2,000 climate activists attending the ongoing COP28 in Dubai have joined the global action on Saturday — demanding climate justice and protection of human rights.

Carrying a huge black banner emblazoned with “Ceasefire Now” in bold letters, written in English and Arabic, the protesters shouted their call while marching around the UN-controlled Blue Zone.

“We are coming together to march for climate justice to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and demand ceasefire now,” speakers at the protest said.

From the UAE to Uganda, more than 300 cities are standing up for Palestine for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, COP28 Coalition, an alliance of more than 350 climate civil society organisations from 75 countries, told Khaleej Times.

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"It is up to the peoples of the world to call not only for a ceasefire but for the end of decades of settler colonialism and apartheid. The climate justice movement echoes the call being made by social movements everywhere,” the coalition added.

COP28 has two zones – first is the Blue Zone which is under the jurisdiction of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) while the climate summit is underway. It is open only to UN-accredited participants and it is where formal climate negotiations are taking place. The other one is Green Zone, which is open to the general public and is under the UAE.

Largest demonstration

The protest on Saturday, approved by the UNFCC, was the largest demonstration yet at the UN Climate Summit in Dubai which concludes on Tuesday. The number of demonstrators was tenfold than the previous sit-down rally held on December 3, which turned emotional as climate activists teared up when names of Palestinians who died in Israeli bombing were read out.

The organised march on Saturday that lasted for two hours was louder and more defiant. Numerous protesters wore keffiyehs, waved watermelon banners and carried placards that say ‘Land back; Stop the occupation; Right of return’ as loud chants of ‘Ceasefire now!’ ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, the occupation has to go’ and ‘The people united will never be defeated’ reverberated around the UN-controlled Blue Zone at COP28.

Photo by Angel Tesorero
Photo by Angel Tesorero

There were also calls for immediate climate action and equitable financial support to communities highly impacted by climate change.

Speeches focused on the key demands for climate justice and outright end of violence in Gaza as Israel’s bombardment, according to Palestinian Health Ministry, has killed more than 17,000 people – with 70 per cent of them women and children, and also injured more than 46,000 individuals.

Storytelling, singing at the protest

Chants and agitations were constantly made but there were also storytelling, humming, and invocations conducted by Indigenous people who also came in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Protesters also sang a song for peace, which is also a “prayer for healing, justice and a cry for liberation.” Part of the lyrics say “May this body be a bridge for the healing of this land… teach us oh Great Mother to bring peace to this land.”

Global actions

Meanwhile, the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) shared with Khaleej Times pictures of protest actions simultaneously held across Asia, including cities and towns in the Philippines; Katmandu, Nepal; Manipur and several states in India; and various locations in Pakistan.

Philippines (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Philippines (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Manipur, India (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Manipur, India (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Pakistan (Photo supplied by APMDD)
Pakistan (Photo supplied by APMDD)

They said: "We are making it clear: Climate advocates stand for victims of genocide. We fight for the oppressed as we stand for the environment."

The Global Day of Action for Climate Justice also condemned the US veto on Friday of the UAE-led UN resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The vote in the 15-member council was 13 in favour of the resolution while one (US) was against, while UK abstained.

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