From penguins to Pope's shoes, climate rallies pressure U.N. summit

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Pope, Celebrities, Activists Display Shoes Ahead of Paris Climate Change Talks

Tens of thousands of people from Sydney to London joined one of the biggest days of climate change activism on Sunday, telling world leaders gathering for a summit in Paris there is "No Planet B" in the fight against global warming.

In the French capital, where demonstrations were banned by the authorities after attacks by Islamic State militants killed 130 people on Nov. 13, activists laid out more than 20,000 pairs of shoes in the Place de la Republique to symbolize absent marchers.

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From penguins to Pope's shoes, climate rallies pressure U.N. summit
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Among the high heels and sandals were a pair of plain black shoes sent by Pope Francis, who has been a vocal advocate for action to prevent dangerous climate change, and jogging shoes from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. One activist, dressed in white as an angel with large wings, held a sign saying "coal kills".

About 10,000 people also joined arms to form a human chain through Paris along the 3-km (2-mile) route of the banned march, organizers said.

"This is a moment for the whole world to join hands," said Iain Keith, campaign director for Avaaz, one of the organizers.

Elsewhere, more than 2,000 events were being held in cities including London, Sao Paulo and New York, making it perhaps the biggest day of climate action in history on the eve of the Paris summit which runs from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 and will be attended by about 150 heads of government.

Around the world, activists marched, dressed as polar bears or penguins at risk from melting ice, or chanted slogans such as "climate justice".

See more of the effects of climate change on polar ice:

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From penguins to Pope's shoes, climate rallies pressure U.N. summit
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 22: Seagulls sit on an iceberg on July 22, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 25: Pedestrians walk along the road on July 26, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 24: Jason Briner, with the University of Buffalo, Department of Geology, flies in a helicopter to a spot to gather samples of granite to research the age of the local glacial retreat on July 24, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 17: Icebergs float in the water on July 17, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 22: A fish hangs from a fishermans hook on July 22, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - AUGUST 01: Aerial view of melt season in the Antarctic Peninsula - Antarctica. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
KANGERLUSSUAQ, GREENLAND - JULY 14: Blooming flowers are seen near the glacial ice toe on July 14, 2013 in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. As the sea levels around the globe rise, researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 15: A glacial toe is seen on July 15, 2013 near Ilulissat, Greenland. As the sea levels around the globe rise, researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
QAANAAQ, GREENLAND - AUGUST 01: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) A researcher of Japan's National Institute of Polar Research investigates the glacier coloured to red by being covered by glacier organisms on August 1, 2012 near Qaanaaq, Greenland. In Greenland there is said to be approximately ten percent of ice of the earth and the large scale melting of the glacier and ice may affect to the global climate change. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A child wades through the flood waters in front of the Doges' Palace, next to a flooded St. Mark's Square, in Venice on November 7, 2014. The high water, a combination of high tides and a strong Scirocco wind in the Adriatic Sea, stood at 110 centimeters early on November 7. The city has for years been wrestling with the problems posed by the threat of rising sea levels. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOOPERS ISLAND, MD - OCTOBER 30: Donny Willey stands near graves that were once several yards from the waters edge are now exposed and releasing human remains by the eroding waters of the Chesapeake Bay at the Anchor of Hope Cemetery October 30, 2014 in Hoopers Island, Maryland. Willey volunteered his time to try and save the cemetery from erosion and cannot get a permit from the state of Maryland to erect a seawall. The cemetery is the resting place of more than 150 men, women, and children; from the War of 1812 to veterans of several other wars, from the founding family of Hoopers Island to slaves and freed slaves. With sea levels projected to rise several feet over the next century, several islands in the Chesapeake Bay region are slowly eroding away. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ROBBINS, MD - OCTOBER 09: A truck drives on Robbins Road that is flooded from the high tide of the Blackwater River October 9, 2014 in Robbins, Maryland. Several islands and property's located at sea level in the lower Chesapeake Bay region are slowly eroding away as sea levels rise. Officials have projected the sea level will rise several feet over the next century leaving many of the Chesapeake bay's lower islands underwater. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
HOOPERS ISLAND, MD - OCTOBER 08: A Snapping Turtle sits in the middle of the road October 8, 2014 in Hoopers Island, Maryland. Several islands in the Chesapeake Bay region are slowly eroding away as sea levels are projected to rise several feet over the next century. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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HUMAN CHAIN

CLASHES IN PARIS

In Sydney, about 45,000 people are estimated to have marched through the central business district towards the Opera House. Protesters held placards reading: "There is no Planet B," and "Say no to burning national forests for electricity".

U.S. President Barack Obama and China's Xi Jinping will be among the leaders attending the start of the summit, which organizers hope will produce a first legally binding agreement to commit both rich and developing nations to curbing emissions of greenhouse gases, blamed for warming the planet, beyond 2020.

Hopes are high that the Paris summit will not fail like the previous such meeting six years ago in Copenhagen.

But all sides say pledges made in Paris will be insufficient to limit a rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, widely viewed as a threshold for dangerous changes in the planet's climate system.

Almost all the demonstrations were peaceful but, after the human chain protest in Paris, riot police fired tear gas and clashed with about 200 protesters, some wearing masks, in the Place de la Republique.

Demonstrators carried banners calling for the defense of the climate and democracy. The square has been a gathering place for Parisians since the Nov. 13 attacks.

Using the state of emergency rules, police put 24 green activists under house arrest ahead of the summit, saying they were suspected of planning violent protests.

In Berlin, about 5,000 people marched with some dressed as penguins. One carried a huge "There is no planet B for penguins," banner.

In London, hundreds of marchers were joined by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and actress Emma Thompson. "This is our planet and we are in deep, grave danger," Thompson told Sky television.

In the biggest single march on climate change ever staged, last year organizers estimated 310,000 people took part in New York.

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