European Demos Held Over Amazon Fires
Climate change activists chanting slogans and waving banners demonstrated outside Brazil's embassy in London on Friday, urging President Jair Bolsonaro to do more to halt the fires in the Amazon rainforest
The protests came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the fires as an "international crisis" ahead of a G7 summit in France this weekend where the issue is expected to feature prominently.
"The fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest are not only heartbreaking, they are an international crisis," Johnson tweeted.
"We stand ready to provide whatever help we can to bring them under control and help protect one of Earth's greatest wonders," he added.
The demonstrators chanted "climate justice" and "save the Amazon" as a drummer played and young children drew rainbows and other images on the pavement with coloured chalk.
"Also, we have children and would like for them to grow up in a world which has its lungs." In Amsterdam several hundred protesters briefly staged a so-called "die-in" lying down in a central square as part of the "Fridays for Future" environmental protest movement started by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.
Protests over the fires were also planned for other European cities, including a Friday night vigil and demonstrations Saturday and Monday in Lisbon under the slogan "Rebel for the Amazon".
"We are losing the lungs of our planet," Aitor Urruticoechea, spokesperson of Fridays for Future in Barcelona, told AFP.
- 'We gather in outrage' - Official figures show nearly 73,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of this year -- the highest number for any year since 2013. Most were in the Amazon.
The data comes as Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1, faces a growing worldwide clamour over his anti-environment rhetoric, which activists blame for emboldening loggers, miners and farmers in the Amazon.
The extent of the area damaged by fires has yet to be determined.
French President Emmanuel Macron stepped up his criticism of the situation Friday, saying he believes Bolsonaro lied to him on Brazil's stance on climate change.
"We cannot sit in silence while life on Earth is being destroyed." They called on governments to put pressure on Bolsonaro to act to help stop the fires.
Charity sector worker Lucy Brown, 41, a regular climate protester, brought her two young children with her.
"I'm very concerned about climate change but specially about the impact of the animal agriculture in the Amazon," the ER member said.