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Rallies to highlight warming are held globally

December 09, 2007|From the Associated Press

LONDON — Skiers, fire-eaters and an ice sculptor joined in worldwide demonstrations Saturday to draw attention to climate change and push governments to take stronger action to fight global warming.

From costume parades in the Philippines to a cyclists' protest in London, marches were held in more than 50 cities around the world to coincide with the two-week United Nations climate change conference, which runs through Friday in Bali, Indonesia.

Hundreds of people rallied in the Philippine capital, Manila, wearing miniature windmills atop hats, or framing their faces in cardboard cutouts of the sun.

"We are trying to send a message that we are going to have to use renewable energy sometime, because the environment, we need to really preserve it," high school student Samantha Gonzales said. "We have to act now."

In Taipei, Taiwan, about 1,500 people marched through the streets holding banners and placards saying, "No to carbon dioxide." Hundreds marched outside the conference center in Bali. At a climate rescue carnival held in a park in Auckland, New Zealand, more than 350 people lay on the grass to spell out "Climate SOS."

At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, ice sculptor Christian Funk carved a polar bear out of 15 tons of ice as a monument to climate protection.

Christmas markets throughout Germany were switching off lights for five minutes. In Helsinki, Finland, about 50 demonstrators ground their skis across the asphalt along the main shopping street, calling for decision-makers to give them their snowy winters back.

Fire-eaters blew bursts of flames at a rally in Athens.

In London, demonstrators braved the cold, rainy December weather to descend on Parliament Square, wielding signs reading, "There is no Planet B." Bikers circled the square earlier in the morning to protest the city's traffic and its effect on global warming, organizers said.

Americans too protested Saturday. In Massachusetts, about 50 demonstrators took a quick "polar bear" plunge into the bracing waters of Walden Pond.

"We want our elected leaders -- the congressmen, senators and the president -- to realize that global warming is a serious problem that needs their leadership," organizer Roger Shamel said.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, protesters skied a frigid slope wearing just bathing suits or underwear. It was about 19 degrees during the ski, unusually warm for this time of year.

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