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Thousands march in London to press for climate change action in Paris talks

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 12:32 GMT, Nov 30, 2015 |
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Tens of thousands of environmental campaigners marched through central London on Sunday (November 29) on the eve of the Paris climate change talks.

Organisers said the London march attracted even more people once it had been announced that the Paris demonstration would be cancelled due to security concerns following the Paris attacks which killed 130 people.

“Here in London we are taking up the slack where Parisians aren’t able to march and we are representing them as well as the rest of the world,” said Alex Wilks, one of the organisers from the campaign group Avaaz.

Celebrities, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel were among the crowds.

Gabriel, a veteran human right activist, said he hopes the Paris summit will produce concrete, measurable plans to combat climate change.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, joined the demonstration. The embattled veteran activist is currently under fire from within his own party for declaring he could not back Britain launching airstrikes on Syria.

“As an indigenous person I am here to defend Mother Earth and then I see people from different cultures, different walks of life in London and we are all here to defend the planet and it gives me a lot of heart to keep in fighting. I feel really emboldened by all this solidarity,” she said.

The London march comprised campaigners from many different factions, all keen to brighten up a cold, grey and windy November day with their costumes, banners and music.

Just before the march set off on its route towards parliament, Vivienne Westwood led the rallying cry declaring: “The rotten financial system is the cause of all our problems, poverty, war, climate change.”

The London demonstration was one of more than 2,000 events taking place across the world.

More than 140 world leaders will gather in Paris on Monday (November 30) for the talks, aimed at forging an international agreement on how they will tackle climate change.