Celebrities, political leaders and protesters rallied in New York, US, and across the globe on Sunday demanding urgent action on climate change, with organisers saying 600,000 people hit the streets.
Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki Moon took part in the march down New York's Sixth Avenue, as part of People's Climate March, which has beenproclaimed the largest climate protest worldwide in history.
There were colourful and boisterous rallies in other major cities in Latin America, Europe, India and Australia, designed to build pressure ahead of a climate change summit hosted by Mr Ban in New York today.
In New York, where organisers said310,000 people took part, elderly protesters - leaning on walking sticks and sitting in wheelchairs - joined young parents with children in strollers, adults in fancy dress and community groups.
Mr Ban, wearing a baseball cap and T-shirt (right) with the words, "I'm for Climate Action," praised New York City mayor Bill de Blasio for announcing on Sunday that by 2050, New York would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 2005 levels.
"I am overwhelmed by such a strong power, energy and voice of the people.
I hope this voice will be truly reflected to the leaders when they meet on Sept 23," Mr Ban said.
"There is no Plan B because we do not have planet B. We have to work and galvanise our action."
The UN meeting today sets the stage for a crucial conference in Paris in December next year aimed at finalising a new global climate change pact.
In addition to New York, another 270,000 people turned out at about 2,500 events in 158 countries around the world, organisers said.
In London, an estimated 40,000 people paraded past Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament, including actress Emma Thompson, who likened the threat posed by climate change to a Martian invasion.
Activist group Avaaz, which helped organise the rallies, said 30,000 people turned up in Melbourne, Australia, and at least 15,000 in Berlin, Germany, where the crowd braved pouring rain, and another 5,000 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In Paris, France, where police estimated that 4,800 people protested, many turned up on bikes with banners that read, "Climate in danger" or "World leaders, act!"
In Cairns, Australia, where finance ministers from G20 nations were meeting, more than 100 people wearing green paper hearts around their necks gathered outside the venue.
Hundreds also massed in Sydney, Australia, and in New Delhi, India, where around 300 protesters carried placards that read "I want to save forests" and "Coal kills", as they shouted slogans and danced to pounding drum beats.
By the numbers: 600,000
The number of people who protested for action on climate change on Sunday at rallies from Melbourne to New York. Organisers described the events as the "largest climate demonstration of all time".
This article was first published on September 23, 2014.
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