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Nightly News   |  December 16, 2009

Protests heat up in Copenhagen

Dec. 16: Talks at the international climate summit came to another full stop Wednesday as thousands of protesters took to the streets in Copenhagen. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.

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>> numbers out tonight. chuck, thanks for that.

>>> now we switch to the big climate conference going on in copenhagen , as president obama gets ready to join leaders there from around the world. inside, things are a mess. there is still no agreement on a plan of action or who will pay for it. secretary of state hillary clinton arrives tomorrow, will try to help push through some kind of a deal. outside the conference our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson was right in the middle of what was happening in the streets.

>> reporter: the frustrations of the last ten days explode on the streets of copenhagen . outside the bella center where negotiators haven't reached a climate agreement, 2,500 protestors try to storm the hall to make an impact. police in riot gear block their way, and the situation is quickly out of control. as the crowd advances, the police use pepper spray . batons, and seemingly desperate measures to restrain the crowd.

>> this will be cleared by force.

>> reporter: among the people dragged out, matt hammer from canada. what did the police do to you?

>> i was pulled up by the ears. i was pushed in the face. i was shoved to the ground.

>> reporter: to regain control of the situation, police are using these vans to push the crowd away. then in front of these vans is a line of officers on foot. they keep pushing the demonstrators back. those that resist are detained. inside the hall, more turbulence. protestors disrupt meetings. the conference leader abruptly resigns and the gap of mistrust widens over how to reach an agreement.

>> we need to have very just, very just process.

>> reporter: of the key issues of emission cuts and money, there is still no deal, but there is hope on stopping the destruction of tropical forests like the amazon. today the u.s. pledged $1 billion to halt the practice in developing countries. now, everyone waits to see what else president obama can do when he arrives friday.

>> the president doesn't come to copenhagen to announce failure. he comes to announce success.

>> reporter: the pressure is on and the whole world is watching. anne thompson , nbc news,