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UPDATE: We march for climate justice today

9:15 am – We are in a car on our way to the Via Campesina march for climate justice this morning. There is more police activity visible on the streets of Cancun this morning.

9:50 am – We marched for a short distance and now people are packing on to buses that plan to take us to a place near the Moon Palace, the location where the official climate negotiations are taking place. It’s hard to estimate the number of people here, but it feels large. There was a large Bolivian contingent at the front of the march. The bus has just started to move.

11 am – We are on the main highway to Tulum where it intersects with Alfredo V. Bonfil, which is about a 10 kilometre march from the Moon Palace. We are waiting as more buses bring people to join us. There are about 500 of us here now.

12 noon – Thousands marching in 27 degrees Celsius heat on the Tulum highway. The Council of Canadians ‘climate justice banner’ – with Council activist signatures on it – is being photographed and filmed and welcomed with thumbs up by many people. The Polaris Institute, the National Farmers Union, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and other Canadian activists are in this march. Word is that people will be leaving the official talks at the Moon Palace shortly to join the march, including Bolivian ambassador Pablo Solon. Mexican military humvees with mounted machine guns have driven past on the other side of the highway, and a military helicopter has flown overhead several times.

1:15 pm – Word is that a kilometre or two up the highway is a major police blockade. That appears to be where we will have our peoples assembly for climate justice. Estimates now have 2,000 people marching. Some governments and NGOs inside the talks on their way to join the assembly now.

2:15 pm – We have arrived at trucks situated across the highway where the peoples assembly will take place. It appears that people will be speaking from the back of a pick-up truck. About 500 metres past the trucks is a first line of police in riot gear with shields, and then 250 metres past that is several-metre high steel barricade across the highway. This is what blocks us from getting to the Moon Palace where the climate talks are taking place and where environment minister John Baird will be at some point today.

2:35 pm – Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations Pablo Solon is addressing those gathered here now. He says that the rights of Mother Earth must be recognized in the way that human rights were recognized years ago. He speaks against carbon markets. He says REDD is one of the worst things you can do against Mother Earth. He says the heart of the negotiations is about how the major emitting countries will be made to reduce their carbon emissions. He says if the earth keeps to heat up it will cause permanent damage. Some countries are saying they don’t want to talk about reductions, they say they’ll talk about it next year. He says it’s a genocide happening to people. He says we have to talk about the impact of war on climate change. Climate financing for the global South is not guaranteed. Much more money is spent on war.  The debt that has been inflicted on developing countries must be repaid. Solon says he is also raising the climate justice tribunal at the talks but that no one is listening. He says its sad that the negotiations are happening so far from the people. Solon concludes by saying he will take our strength back inside the talks now.