WATCH: Calls for Gaza ceasefire ring out in Dubai as 2,000 protesters march on COP28 grounds

From the UAE to Uganda, more than 300 cities are standing up for Palestine, the activists say

By Angel L. Tesorero / Khaleej Times

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (UAE)–About 2,000 climate activists attending the ongoing COP28 in Dubai have joined the global action on Saturday — demanding climate justice and protection of human rights.

Carrying a huge black banner emblazoned with “Ceasefire Now” in bold letters, written in English and Arabic, the protesters shouted their call while marching around the UN-controlled Blue Zone.

“We are coming together to march for climate justice to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and demand ceasefire now,” speakers at the protest said.

From the UAE to Uganda, more than 300 cities are standing up for Palestine for the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, COP28 Coalition, an alliance of more than 350 climate civil society organisations from 75 countries, told Khaleej Times.

Here’s a video:

“It is up to the peoples of the world to call not only for a ceasefire but for the end of decades of settler colonialism and apartheid. The climate justice movement echoes the call being made by social movements everywhere,” the coalition added.

COP28 has two zones – first is the Blue Zone which is under the jurisdiction of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) while the climate summit is underway. It is open only to UN-accredited participants and it is where formal climate negotiations are taking place. The other one is Green Zone, which is open to the general public and is under the UAE.

Largest demonstration

The protest on Saturday, approved by the UNFCC, was the largest demonstration yet at the UN Climate Summit in Dubai which concludes on Tuesday. The number of demonstrators was tenfold than the previous sit-down rally held on December 3, which turned emotional as climate activists teared up when names of Palestinians who died in Israeli bombing were read out.

The organised march on Saturday that lasted for two hours was louder and more defiant. Numerous protesters wore keffiyehs, waved watermelon banners and carried placards that say ‘Land back; Stop the occupation; Right of return’ as loud chants of ‘Ceasefire now!’ ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, the occupation has to go’ and ‘The people united will never be defeated’ reverberated around the UN-controlled Blue Zone at COP28.

Photo by Angel Tesorero

Photo by Angel Tesorero

There were also calls for immediate climate action and equitable financial support to communities highly impacted by climate change.

Speeches focused on the key demands for climate justice and outright end of violence in Gaza as Israel’s bombardment, according to Palestinian Health Ministry, has killed more than 17,000 people – with 70 per cent of them women and children, and also injured more than 46,000 individuals.

Storytelling, singing at the protest

Chants and agitations were constantly made but there were also storytelling, humming, and invocations conducted by Indigenous people who also came in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Protesters also sang a song for peace, which is also a “prayer for healing, justice and a cry for liberation.” Part of the lyrics say “May this body be a bridge for the healing of this land… teach us oh Great Mother to bring peace to this land.”

Global actions

Meanwhile, the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) shared with Khaleej Times pictures of protest actions simultaneously held across Asia, including cities and towns in the Philippines; Katmandu, Nepal; Manipur and several states in India; and various locations in Pakistan.

Philippines (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Philippines (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Manipur, India (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Manipur, India (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Pakistan (Photo supplied by APMDD)

Pakistan (Photo supplied by APMDD)

They said: “We are making it clear: Climate advocates stand for victims of genocide. We fight for the oppressed as we stand for the environment.”

The Global Day of Action for Climate Justice also condemned the US veto on Friday of the UAE-led UN resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The vote in the 15-member council was 13 in favour of the resolution while one (US) was against, while UK abstained. #

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This report is original to the Khaleej Times where the author is a senior deputy editor.

Progressives upbeat on Duterte-NDFP peace talks

This is a contributed video of some of the highlights of the Philippine celebration of the 15th anniversary of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) and the launching of Prof. Jose Ma. Sison’s latest book “Building People’s Power” held on May 28, 2016.

The event was upbeat on the prospects of peace talks with the government under incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.  Read more

ILPS joins anti-APEC protest in Manila

Delegates of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) led by Secretary-General Malcolm Guy join the anti-APEC protest in Manila, November 19, 2015.

The ILPS convened its 5th international assembly with more than 400 delegates and guests from 39 countries/territories, the largest and most consolidated global formation of militant, anti-imperialist and democratic organizations in the world today.

Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled speaks at anti-APEC protest in Manila

Leila Khaled, iconic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFB) freedom fighter, speaks at a protest rally against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit being held in Manila.

Khaled is in Manila along with several global activists to attend the just concluded 5th General Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle. She also represented PLFP in the formation of a new Filipino-Palestinian solidarity alliance aimed at campaigning for the liberation of Palestine against Israeli occupation.

Khaled successively took over two passenger airlines in the late 1960s to help launch their struggle to global prominence. She has since become one of the leading campaigners for Palestinian liberation.

Watch Khaled’s well-applauded speech at the anti-APEC rally.

The Banwaon children of Balit

Text and photos by Raymund B Villanueva

They do not smile as often as other children.

They tell their visitors about the two-day trek from their forest communities under direct sun and drenching rain last January. They say they have never walked as far before. There were hardly roads in the 14 sitios (sub-villages) where they came from. A thousand of them belonging to 174 families left in a hurry, afraid of the lowlanders who came to their communities bearing big guns and wearing menacing scowls.


Their parents explained to them they had to leave their forest and mountain homes to survive. They are being killed for refusing excavations on their ancestral territory said to be rich in gold, copper, manganese, bromite and magnetite. The land that has nurtured them suddenly meant harm, as the strangers will kill them if they are not allowed to dig. Who among them knew that the land that bore them sweet potatoes and cassavas had so many metals they hardly heard of before?

An abandoned hospital compound is their temporary refuge here in Barangay Balit, San Luis, Agusan del Sur. It is unbearably hot during daytime and bitingly cold at night. Their parents had to construct small huts so each family would have their own space and somehow stem the spread of diseases. But the few trees around the compound could not afford them the play space they enjoyed back home.

There is never enough food to eat at this shelter, a situation they never experienced before. The land they temporarily left behind has always provided them with enough crops and fruits to eat. And if their Diwata (goddess) was in a good mood, they are provided with meat from the surrounding forests. Here, their mothers have stopped lactating due to want of food and four children have already died to common ailments worsened by severe under-nutrition.

They also fall ill due to lack of toilets and other hygiene facilities. Drinking water had to be fetched from some distance away, passing through a camp of soldiers who follow them around with their guns. They would often go without water rather than be anywhere nearer those mean men.

Some of them still find ways to play though. But many could not join in, as they are weak. Instead, they just look at those still strong enough to run around.

No, the Banwaon children in Barangay Balit do not smile as often as other children. Like children of other indigenous tribes throughout the Philippines they suffer from the persecutions by soldiers of the government. They are uprooted from their homes and vast playgrounds. They are denied food, education, medical care and safety.

But they come to life when they are asked to show how their elders hunted for food in their forests. Their limbs are energized when they perform plays to show how their people resist aggression from strangers. They find their voices when they sing songs of struggle and hope, songs about being back in their forests and mountain communities, free to run around and play, to fetch water for their mothers. They are as brave and heroic as their elders in the defense of their rights, beliefs and way of life.

As the International Solidarity Mission was preparing to leave the refugee center, some of the children milled around the kindly nuns who often visit them. It seemed they were saying they will carry on, that they are as steadfast as their elders in refusing mining and logging activities on their ancestral land.

When the vehicles carrying the nuns rounded the bend that led outside Barangay Balit, some of the children climbed the posts of the chicken-wire fence that enclosed the refugee center. Perhaps they were imagining they were up on some tree branch back in their villages, waving goodbyes to the wimpled angels sent to them by their Diwata to assure them there will be justice soon.

They were smiling. #