“I couldn't get in today even though I have all the right badges," Emily Rideout tells me. "It’s total BS.”
She confirms reports that NGO workers have been mostly shut out of today's negotiations and plenaries in Copenhagen. UN climate chief Yvo de Boer is claiming responsibility for booking more than 46,000 people into the Bella Centre, which holds a mere 15,000 people at a time.
Today, with heads of state finally arriving, more than 85 percent of NGO workers got the boot. That means a lot of the information coming out of the conference will stop flowing, especially information about poorer countries with smaller delegations and more limited access to the mainstream media. It's a situation that could elicit Stephen Harper's least wooden smile since he entered politics.
About 3,000 of the shut out NGO workers took to the streets in a mass demonstration, and attempted to storm the Bella Centre. They were beaten back and tear gassed by police. Two-hundred-and-fifty people were arrested.
Rideout was one of the demonstrators, and she took these videos this morning; it's a confusing scene but it gives a sense of the tension and the overwhelming presence of both police and media:
Adopt A Negotiator also posted this video showing police crackdown on protesters.:
Back inside the Bella Centre another 50 NGO workers held a spontaneous sit-in in solidarity with those who couldn't get in.