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Pre-Copenhagen protests a sign of things to come

A day of action for climate justice has ended in the arrest of protesters from Chicago to North Carolina.

A North American network of organizations and activists, Mobilization for Climate Justice (MCJ), set November 30 as the date for "mass action on climate change" because it marks one week until the start of the Copenhagen climate negotiations and the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle.

Today on its website, MJC posted images and updates of the protests taking place around the continent, some of which received mainstream news coverage -- including the occupation of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's office in Whitby, Ontario. Seven people were charged with charged with mischief and trespassing.

In Chicago, 12 people were arrested for staging protests in the city's financial district. Their main target, according to the MCJ website, was the Chicago Climate Exchange, the largest carbon market in North America.

"Carbon trading is a fraudulent market that intensifies social injustice, does not reduce emissions in a meaningful way, and acts as a dangerous distraction from the real climate solutions we urgently need," stated Angie Viands of the Rainforest Action Network.

And two protesters in Greenville, North Carolina, were arrested after locking themselves to a generator bound for a coal plant.

The scale of protest expected for Copenhagen is drawing comparisons to the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, with some observers calling global warming the new globalization.

Danish authorities are preparing themselves accordingly. Parliament recently passed legislation that gives police pre-emptive powers to arrest and detain anyone who is liable to break the law, and authority to detain protesters who hinder police for a period of 40 days. The law has been heavily criticized by environmentalists.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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