global warming

Why did Copenhagen cops arrest InvestigateWest photographer covering climate protest?

Try not to get arrested.

That was my advice to the young journalists traveling thousands of miles to cover the United Nations climate-treaty negotiations going on in Copenhagen this month. I said it because it's a truism: a journalist in jail can't file. He or she is not able to do what he or she is there to do -- send back information for the world to see. And we knew there were likely to be some massive arrests as young activists sought in Copenhagen to spur real commitments to tackling climate change.

Fortunately, InvestigateWest Editor and Executive Director Rita Hibbard was part of the discussion. She quickly followed up my admonition with something like: "But make sure you're close enough to capture the action." She emphasized that we can't very well cover a protest march without being pretty close to the marchers, and that we had a right to be there.


InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow found himself yesterday trying to balance those two pieces of advice in the blur of a fast-moving demonstration. He was in a group of about 275 demonstrators arrested when Copenhagen cops cracked down on a protest that, to that point at least, had been peaceful. (It should be said, though, that the protesters had been pretty open about the fact that they were trying to shut down Copenhagen's harbor.)

Now, Chris probably could have gotten away. InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly, photograph Mark Malijan and videographer Blair Kelly were there and managed to scoot. But should Chris have been arrested? Absolutely not! It really honks me off that the police not only detained him at the scene -- it's possible to make a mistake in the heat of the moment -- but insisted on taking him to one of the makeshift holding areas that are serving as jails for the climate protesters.


Protesters: We were peaceful before arrests started

Editor's note: Near the site of the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen, a spokesman for Climate Justice Action acknowledges that the protesters arrested yesterday intended to shut down the city's harbor. Instead police moved in on what was up to that point a peaceful protest, stopping the marchers far from the harbor. InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow was arrested along with about 275 protesters.

In this interview with InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly and videographer Blair Kelly, Ed Thompson of Climate Justice Action explains the demonstrators' reasoning, and says more big protests are planned later this week:

Videos document struggles between police, protesters at Copenhagen climate treaty talks

InvestigateWest videographer Blair Kelly intimately captured the feel of the so-called "Hit the Production" street protests in Copenhagen, designed to influence the United Nations' climate treaty talks happening in the Danish capital. The second video is particularly intriguing in that it includes a brief clip of InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow as he's hauled to the paddy wagon, followed by a really interesting retort from a Danish cop to a protester:

Christopher Crow's photos of Copenhagen climate protest available following his arrest, release

OK, now that InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow has been released by Danish authorities, we thought we should offer a look at what he was capturing when he was so unfairly swept up by police while covering protests of the emerging United Nations climate treaty.

These shots are from just before Chris was arrested, as protesters tried unsuccessfully to shut down the harbor in Copenhagen, where negotiators from around the globe are trying to lay the groundwork for a global pact to rein in global warming:

[caption id="attachment_7230" align="aligncenter" width="199" caption="InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow"]InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7231" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow"]InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7232" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Danish cop ties protester's hands. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]Danish cop ties protester's hands. InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_7241" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Once trapped inside the police barrier, demonstrators were informed they would be searched before the demonstration would be allowed to continue.

InvestigateWest photographer released after arrest at Copenhagen climate protests

[caption id="attachment_7203" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Christopher Crow"]Christopher Crow[/caption]

InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly reports the InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow has been released by Copenhagen police. In an earlier dispatch by Kelly we covered details of Crow's arrest, which occurred while he was photographing demonstrators outside the United Nations climate treaty talks in Copenhagen. The demonstrators were intent on shutting down the harbor of the Danish capital .

-- Robert McClure

InvestigateWest photographer arrested covering climate protest in Copenhagen

By Alexander Kelly

COPENHAGEN -- InvestigateWest photographer Christopher Crow was arrested today by police wielding batons and accompanied by police dogs. Crow had been photographing demonstrators trying to shut down Copenhagen's harbor outside the United Nations negotiations on climate change.

[caption id="attachment_7185" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Christopher Crow in custody at the scene of his arrest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan. "]Chrirstopher Crow in custody at the scene of his arrest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan. [/caption]

 Crow was taken into custody along with about 275 others. Some 400 to 500 demonstrators had been involved in the protest.

Demonstrators marched roughly six blocks before riot police trapped the group against a metal railing about 2 1/2 miles from the harbor.

InvestigateWest’s second photographer, Mark Malijan, and videographer Blair Kelly and I made our way across the police line shortly before officers closed in with rubber batons and police dogs.

[caption id="attachment_7193" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Crow is escorted to a waiting police van. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Crow is escorted to a waiting police van. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]

Riot cops violently tore protesters from a cargo truck that carried the march’s leaders.

Changing the political system = saving the Earth, say protesters at Copenhagen climate talks

COPENHAGEN – T-shirts. Banners. Picket signs. Chants. Those were the weapons most demonstrators wielded to get across their plea as tens of thousands rallied to send a message to United Nations climate-treaty negotiators meeting here.

Their overriding point was probably best summed up in one placard: “Change the politics, not the climate.” Another frequently seen sign: "There is no Planet B:" The Copenhagen march was echoed by an international campaign of demonstrations.

[caption id="attachment_7155" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan.[/caption]

The protesters targeted a proposal emerging from global negotiations here that wouldseek to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide by putting a price on the right to pollute. A similar system has worked well to control acid rain in the United States, by most accounts. But critics say exporting that concept to a worldwide climate treaty is foolhardy because it privatizes the right to pollute. (Jim Tankersley of the LA Times has an interesting look at what goes on inside the negotiations versus what's transpiring outside.)

The Saturday protest, billed as the largest likely during the climate talks, was not without violence. A few hundred of the 30,000 or more demonstrators tossed bricks at police, smashed windows and set off homemade explosives near the end of the march.

Copenhagen climate protests mostly peaceful

[caption id="attachment_7143" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow."]InvestigateWest photo by Christopher Crow.[/caption]

The InvestigateWest team is back from the massive climate protests that brought something like 30,000 to 50,000 demonstrators to the streets of Copenhagen today. They're protesting the global "cap and trade" climate treaty being negotiated there under the auspices of the United Nations.

InvestigateWest correspondent Alexander Kelly says the march was largely peaceful. In one incident, though, several hundred people dressed in anarchist black tossed bricks at police and set off homemade explosives.

Sounds pretty tame compared to the riots at the Seattle meeting of World Trade Organization in Seattle 10 years ago, or even the WTO meeting in Geneva just a few weeks ago. The Seattle protests involved a number similar to those mobilized in Copenhagen today.

We'll be posting video and pictures here, and Kelly will give readers insights into what motivated one of the marchers, as well as convey what speakers told the demonstrators.

 -- Robert McClure