By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, enters the final 24 hours of its three-day High-Level Summit the world eagerly awaits news of the agreements reached or torn up by the 193 participating UN member nations. At the same time in Rio security has been tightened further as thousands of people take part in a number of different protests around the city.
Some of the protests were directed at the controversial text of the Outcome Document that politicians will sign up to today, Friday, which demonstrators have described as “uninspiring” and an “unacceptable failure”.
Others protests have targeted at a range of topics from the plight of Indigenous peoples, to Amazon deforestation and heavy use of pesticides on crops in the country.
Thousands of young people and other representatives of civil groups joined forces on Thursday to pressure the leaders at the summit into making more ambitious pledges in the document.
Paulo Adário, from Greenpeace, says more than a hundred protesters from NGOs took part in a protest calling for “zero deforestation”, saying that the Document was a failure, lacking ambition and consistency: “What Dilma considers a ‘win’ the rest of Brazil consider a ‘failure’,” he said.
Members of the Field Workers’ Movement clashed with police and security guards as they protested against agribusiness and the use of toxic chemicals on crops. A concern for the health of workers, the environment and ultimately consumers of food.
Meanwhile, a group of some 2,000 demonstrators was protesting against the removal of the Vila Autódromo favela. A small community on the shore of Lake Jacarepaguá, facing demolition in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.
On Wednesday evening, a Global March also organized at the Peoples’ Summit brought some 20,000 people, including those from social movements, NGOs and native Indians, onto the streets to protests about various environmental issues.
The protests have only added to the already difficult congestion seen on the roads around the city, despite schools being on enforced holidays, and authorities have urged with residents to take public transport and leave their cars at home.
Restrictions on the roads will be in place until the end of the conference to allow delegates to move unhindered from venue to venue.
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