Thousands march in Brussels ahead of COP24 climate conference

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Around 65,000 people braved rain and wind to take part in the “Claim the Climate” demonstration through central Brussels on Sunday, Belgian police said.

The climate rally, which organizers called the biggest in Belgium’s history, followed similar weekend marches in Berlin and Cologne.

Holding banners with slogans including “There is no planet B” and “Climate First, Politics Second,” the protesters urged delegates meeting at the COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland, to set more ambitious targets to limit carbon emissions.

Read more: Opinion: The brave optimism at COP24

Thousands of people fill the streets in central Brussels for the 'Claim the Climate' demonstration

Organizers say Sunday’s climate rally was the biggest Belgium had ever seen

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries are attending the two-week long United Nations summit, which aims to flesh out a rule book for implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement.    

The pact set the goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Scientists say sticking to that target will involve a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels such as coal. The burning of coal, oil and natural gas emits a large share of greenhouse gases causing climate change.

Read more: Crunch time for the climate at the COP24 global warming conference

Greenpeace protesters in prison

Not far from the COP24 venue in Katowice, Polish anti-coal campaigners held their own, smaller protest on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, in neighboring Slovakia, a court ordered 12 Greenpeace activists to be held in pre-trial detention after they displayed protest banners on a tower at a coal mine in the western town of Novaky.

The protesters, who are from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Belgium, could face prison terms of up to five years if convicted, Greenpeace said.

Read more: Africans expect real action on climate change at COP24

nm/amp (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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