Saturdayâ€™s The Wave demo saw crowds of up toÂ 50,000 people coming out onto the streets to demand a result from governments on climate change at Copenhagen. Thatâ€™s not a shabby number, and the organisers deserve praise for getting people out onto the streets in a season which has been unbelievably filthy.
But we have to be honest: 50,000 is a decent crowd. Itâ€™s not an unstoppable mandate for action.
In the history of British demonstrations, 50,000 is a medium-sized demo. In the 1980s, at the peak of concern about Cruise missiles,Â CND demonstrations attracted crowds of a quarter of a million. The Countryside Allianceâ€™s strangely unfocussed march in 2002 attracted between 400,000 and one million people. The following yearâ€™s Iraq march brought between one and two million out onto the streets.
The Director of Stop Climate Chaos called the march â€œa turning pointâ€. But really, the size of the crowds The Wave managed only underlines again how hard it is to engage the broader public with this issue.
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