December 8, 2011.
Durban, South Africa
At 12:15pm today, after a press conference hosted by Global Justice Ecology Project, a GJEP panelist dressed as a clown was de-badged and removed from the UNFCCC negotiations.
“Uncle Sam,” identified as Kevin Buckland, art ambassador for 350.org, was stopped in the middle of an interview immediately following the press conference and was escorted out of the building by security. Buckland has been appearing as “Uncle Sam,” the ringleader of a band of corporate clowns, at several outside rallies and events over the past two weeks of the UN climate talks here in Durban, South Africa.
Buckland was informed by UN security that he was breaking the NGO code of conduct, despite repeated affirmations that he was merely giving an interview, and not participating in an action. This is only the latest in a string of incidences here at COP17 where civil society has been muzzled by “code of conduct” rules arbitrarily imposed by UN security.
Journalist Orin Langelle of Z Magazine and Global Justice Ecology Project was told by UNFCCC Security Guards to stop taking photos and had his camera smashed in his face. Two civil society observers had their cameras taken by security while filming the expulsion process.
Global Justice Ecology Project’s press release promised “…a strong denouncement of the Green Economy, and an end with a band of clowns blowing bubbles and highlighting the absurdity of the whole UNFCCC process.” Buckland, who has organized and performed numerous pieces of political street theatre, was invited to the press conference to provide a satirical view of the corporate capture of the UN climate process, and of the market schemes being advanced under the guise of the new “Green Economy.”
Other panelists during the press conference, including Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project, Kandi Mosset of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Ricardo Nevarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador, the former President of FOE International, were not bothered after the press conference. Buckland was the only panelist to appear in clown regalia.