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Masks and red procession: thousands of demonstrators urge the G7 to act for the climate

Masked or dressed in red, thousands of environmental activists gathered for a loud and colorful protest on Saturday in Cornwall, south-west England, to urge G7 leaders to step up efforts against change climate.

With a lot of drums, a march organized by the group Extinction Rebellion crossed the port town of Falmouth, located 35km from the venue of the international summit organized in Carbis Bay, but which hosts the press center.

“Actions, not words”, or even “If the sea dies, we will die”: slogans abound on the signs, and yet “we just cannot make ourselves heard” by world leaders, complained Sas Joyce, a resident of Falmouth who had come with her two children.

Extinction Rebellion environmental activists wear masks of G7 leaders during a demonstration in Falmouth (United Kingdom), on the sidelines of a G7 meeting, on June 12, 2021 (AFP – Oli SCARFF)

“I have a one-year-old grandchild, and I don’t want his life to be affected by climate change and pollution,” says David Oliver. The 62-year-old retiree, who made the trip from the north-west of England, believes that G7 leaders do not seem willing to make the “radical” sacrifices necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Dozens of people fully dressed in red, to represent the accelerating rate of species extinction, led the procession through Falmouth, behind a large banner that read “G for Greenwashing”.

– Giant syringe –

Protesters demand a

Protesters demand “Free Cashmere” on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in Falmouth (United Kingdom) on June 12, 2021 (AFP – Oli SCARFF)

For their part, wearing masks of world leaders and dressed in swimsuits from another century, activists from Oxfam, an NGO fighting against poverty, basked on sun loungers on a Falmouth beach , to mock the inaction of those responsible for the climate.

They also simulated a battle at the water’s edge over a giant syringe, Oxfam arguing for the suspension of patents which would allow mass production of anti-Covid-19 vaccines.

Extinction Rebellion environmental activists and their supporters demonstrate in the streets of Falmouth (UK) on the sidelines of a G7 meeting on June 12, 2021 (AFP - Oli SCARFF)

Extinction Rebellion environmental activists and their supporters demonstrate in the streets of Falmouth (UK) on the sidelines of a G7 meeting on June 12, 2021 (AFP – Oli SCARFF)

The G7 is due to discuss the fight against climate change and safeguarding biodiversity on Sunday, paving the way for the international climate conference COP26, to be held in Glasgow (Scotland) in November.

The leaders are expected to debate a commitment to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030. On Friday, they met with business leaders to discuss scaling up efforts on sustainable development.

But campaigners want more detailed plans to be implemented quickly, alongside increased aid to poorer nations.

“We need to pressure the G7 here in Cornwall to do a lot more to reduce carbon emissions,” says Oxfam activist Max Lawson, “but also to help poor countries fight climate change”.

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