Protest in Sharm el Sheikh – in solidarity with people who have been silenced. Photo: Peter Dejong/AP/dpa
This is the color worn by “tens of thousands of unlawfully detained” in the host country, said the alliance COP Civic Space, an association of several human rights organizations. The action was aimed at both political prisoners and human rights activists worldwide.
Dozens dressed in white gathered at the conference site in Sharm el-Sheikh. Some gagged themselves with white ribbons – in solidarity with people who were silenced. “We are here today for those who are not here,” said one speaker, referring to political prisoners.
“Thousands of activists who should be here are missing.” The protesters collectively observed a minute’s silence for human rights defenders who were killed and read out some of their names. Prominent activist Sanaa Saif also attended.
Protests in the «blue zone»
In Egypt, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are fundamentally severely restricted. However, protests at the world climate conference are possible within the so-called “blue zone”, which is under the supervision of the United Nations and its security officials.
In addition, the hosts have designated a place on the site away from the conference where protests with prior registration are allowed at certain times. Several Egyptian security guards in civilian clothes followed the protest on Thursday.
Activist Lise Masson, who had traveled from Great Britain, spoke of a double message: “It’s not just about the political prisoners here, but also about environmental and human rights defenders all over the world who are being murdered, disappeared or put in cages,” she said the dpa. “It’s not a crime to fight for water and land rights,” said US-based Siwatu-Salama Ra.