Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities worldwide
MONTREAL -- Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities worldwide Saturday to demand urgent action on global warming as delegates continued their work at an international climate change conference to review and update the Kyoto Protocol.
Police said about 7,000 people marched in downtown Montreal -- some dressed as polar bears. Five environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Climate Crisis Coalition, delivered a petition signed by 600,000 Americans to the U.S. Consulate in Montreal urging President Bush and Congress to help slow global warming.
Organizers said 10,000 people marched through London, passing Prime Minister Tony Blair's home on Downing Street, where they delivered a letter demanding the government reaffirm its commitment to Kyoto with legally binding targets on emissions reductions.
Chanting and blowing whistles, the marchers denounced Blair and Bush for their perceived environmental failings. Some held banners depicting Bush as ''Wanted -- for crimes against the planet'' and advising ''Ditch Blair, not Kyoto.''
'Save New Orleans' party
Canada's Environment Minister Stephane Dion, who is presiding over the 10-day U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal, also took part in the march and said final negotiations this week involving about 120 environment ministers and other government leaders would be crucial to improving the Kyoto agreement.
Bush has been criticized for pulling out of the treaty, which binds industrialized nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The United States -- responsible for about 25 percent of the world's carbon emissions -- was the target of many demonstrators Saturday.
Protests were expected in 32 countries. In Washington, drivers of hybrid cars planned to rally around the White House. In New Orleans, residents intended to hold a ''Save New Orleans, Stop Global Warming'' party in the French Quarter. Other U.S. events were being held from Boston to Los Angeles.