In a massive show of solidarity towards solutions for climate change, thousands of people from all walks of life paraded through the streets of Lima, Peru on Wednesday, as world leaders talk at United Nations Lima Climate Change Conference. The Guardian reports that while the conference is taking place behind closed doors, the people marching in the streets added a human face to the struggle for climate justice. They also represented a broad cross-section of humanity, including indigenous peoples from all over South America, trade unionists, students and women’s groups.

Lima Climate march

“This is no longer an issue for governments and corporations to talk about behind locked doors,” Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima told The Guardian. “People want solutions, and they also want those solutions to include their basic rights.” As they marched through the streets in a colorful show of indigenous dress, there were drummers, stilt walkers and people carrying photos of murdered environmental activists. The several-thousand-strong throng also carried banners with statements like “Keep the oil in the soil,” “Protect your food,” and “Change the system, not the climate.” While the march was peaceful, protesters were watched by dozens of police in full riot gear.

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The Guardian notes that Wednesday’s march was modeled on last year’s People’s Climate March in New York City that saw 400,000 people hit the streets of Manhattan in the lead up to the 2013 UN Climate Summit there. But climate talks in Peru have much more of an edge to them than those in New York, as the country has rapidly melting glaciers that represent its main source of fresh water. Environmental activists in Latin America are also regularly attacked and killed by those in search of oil, minerals and forest products.

Via The Guardian

Images via Climate Action Network International, Flickr Creative Commons