BRUSSELS, March 10 (Reuters) - Green protesters demanding more money to tackle climate change blocked the main entrance to European Union headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday and Belgian police said they arrested more than 350 of them.
“Save the climate, bail out the planet,” chanted the group of Greenpeace activists, who chained themselves to the gates outside the EU Council, where ministers were discussing how much the bloc should contribute to a climate change fund.
The United Nations plans to meet in December to find a successor to the Kyoto protocol, the main U.N. tool against global warming, and success could hinge on finding cash for the fund to persuade poor nations to help tackle the problem.
Belgian police spokesman Christian De Coninck said police arrested over 350 demonstrators. All would go free on Tuesday but could be prosecuted for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration, he added.
Greenpeace said in a statement that three activists were injured as a result of police action and were in hospital. De Coninck said he had not heard of any injuries and would have been informed if that was the case.
Before the police dislodged the demonstrators, a Reuters photographer said no one could get in or out of the main entrance of the building, which also has a back door.
Thomas Henningsen, Greenpeace International climate campaigner said: “Finance ministers are giving billions of taxpayers’ money to failed banks, but we’re here to make sure they also put money on the table to tackle climate change.
“If the planet were a bank they would bail it out.”
Poor nations blame rich countries for causing climate change and say they do not do enough to help the poor adapt, for example by creating crops that are resistant to drought or floods and helping build barriers to counter rising sea levels.
Greenpeace wants European governments to contribute 35 billion euros ($44 billion) a year to the climate fund for poor nations.
Europe and the United States are seen as the main potential sources of finance, and the EU is now debating the size and source of its contribution.
Industry should be the main source of money for a climate fund to coax the world’s poorest nations into a global deal to tackle climate change in December, a draft report for the meeting of European finance ministers said. (Reporting by Yves Herman, Marine Hass and Ingrid Melander; Writing by Ingrid Melander, Editing by Jonathan Wright)