COP27 Protests Call for Climate Justice and Freedom for Fattah
International pressure has increased on Egypt to release Mr. Abd El Fattah, with the leaders of the United States, Britain, France and Germany all trying to secure his release in one-on-one meetings with Mr. el-Sisi.
President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Friday that Mr. Biden had intensive consultations with Mr. el-Sisi about Mr. Abd El Fattah when Mr. Biden appeared at the climate talks that day.
At the rally on Saturday, protesters held signs that said, “We have not been defeated,” a nod to Mr. Abd El Fattah’s book, “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated,” and made speeches about how human rights were crucial to confronting climate challenges. Other speeches focused on climate reparations, a major discussion at this year’s conference.
As protesters chanted, “Free them all,” a reference to the thousands of political prisoners behind bars in Egypt, Quito Ziegler, a demonstrator from New York, noted that the activists had been crowded into a small space within the COP27 venue with police officers all around.
“It’s a very symbolic protest of people who were privileged enough to get badges in order to be able to protest,” said Mx. Ziegler, a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. “But it’s also remarkable, because right here, in this small space, you have representatives from probably every country on Earth.”
Philip Kilonzo, an activist at the protest who is based in Nairobi, said the conference so far had gone woefully in the wrong direction.
“The Northern countries are beginning to run away from liability,” Mr. Kilonzo, the head of policy for the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, said, referring to reluctance from some countries in the Global North to allocate funds to poorer countries that have been most impacted by global warming. “There is general acknowledgment that the world is changing in terms of climate, but then there is a deviation in terms of commitment.”
Somini Sengupta contributed reporting from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.