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Climate change protest in Manchester city centre this weekend

Global Justice Now is arranging protests across the country this weekend.

Environmental protestors will gather in Manchester city centre this weekend as part of a national wave of demonstrations against the threat they say legal action poses to climate change action.

Global Justice Now is organising protests across the UK on Saturday, including in Manchester.

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The campaign is calling for the UK to exit the Energy Charter Treaty, an international agreement which it says allow fossil fuel companies to sue governments which take action to restrict the use of oil and gas for environmental reasons.

What is the protest taking place in Manchester this weekend?

Global Justice Now demonstrators will gather in St Ann’s Square in Manchester on Saturday 21 May. The event will start at around 11am.

Global Justice Now and its supporters will be demanding the UK withdraws from the Energy Charter Treaty on Saturday at locations around the country, including in London.

What is the Energy Charter Treaty and why is Global Justice Now campaigning against it?

Global Justice Now says recent research suggests the UK faces legal claims of up to £11 billion from oil and gas companies over the steps needed to meet its Paris Agreement target to keep warming below 1.5°C which was reaffirmed at COP26 in Glasgow.

Campaigners fear fossil fuel company claims could prevent or delay action being taken against climate change.

The protests follow talks over reform to the ECT in Brussels between the 50 countries that are party to the treaty, including the UK.

That was the final round of talks ahead of a crunch June deadline when European Union (EU) countries have said they will consider withdrawal if the treaty cannot be reformed to be in line with the Paris Agreement.

Campaigners say the Energy Charter Treaty allows fossil fuel companies to sue governments for taking action on climate change. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Campaigners are now urging the UK to follow suit and commit to leave the treaty if substantial changes are not made to it.

Jean Blaylock, trade campaign manager at Global Justice Now, said: “The fossil fuel industry is already doing everything in its power to delay and deter climate action, and we have lost too much time already to this glacial pace.

“The last thing we need is for governments to give these companies a secret weapon in their battle to squeeze maximum profits out of climate breakdown. But that’s what we’ll be doing if we fail to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty.”