Tuesday afternoon sees press events ranging from Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger, California’s governor, to former U.S. VP/Nobel Prize/Academy Award winner Al Gore to Senator John Kerry. But while it’s starting to feel a bit Hollywood-esque inside the press center, outside, NGOs remain furious after learning that the U.N. has greatly limited access to the center due to the arrival of nearly 120 heads of state. This means that the majority of NGO reps, who enjoyed a lot of freedom in and out of the center these past 10 days, will now be stuck outside for the rest of the conference.
This morning, the U.N. issued an apology, sort of, for yesterday’s disastrous security foul up that left hundreds of people stranded outside. The apology, though, made it sound as if those outside were gate crashers at a rock concert. The reality is, a good number of them, including my colleague Setsuko Kamiya, were standing in line to pick up their badges for which they’d already registered. They suddenly found themselves, quite literally, out in the cold, unable to get inside. Thankfully, Kamiya-san made it inside this morning.
Nor has the U.N. yet bothered to explain why it allowed over 45,000 people to register for a conference center that can only hold around 15,000 people. The U.N. hinted that Danish police were to blame, but it’s not at all clear that’s the case. Security here is only going to get worse from tomorrow, when the world leaders start arriving so more problems are expected.
Eric Johnston is covering COP15 and will occassionally blog for the conference. For the latest news and information on COP15, please support quality journalism by buying the paper or visit www.japantimes.co.jp