Queuing in the snow outside the Copenhagen conference
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse it started to snow. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I had been standing outside the Copenhagen conference centre for six hours waiting to get into what has been billed as one the most important events of our time and my feet were numb with cold.
Despite arriving at the crack of dawn, thousands of delegates, journalists and members of NG0s were denied access to the Bella Centre and were standing huddled together forlornly clutching their passports and accreditation documents.
I found myself next to an elderly nun from South Africa and a woman (with a UN passport) who was seven months pregnant – both of whom, like me, had officially registered for the conference and was supposed to be inside.
As the day wore on the crowd’s good humour failed, and as the sun went down tempers started to fray. At one point I desperately telephoned a journalist I knew who was inside and asked her to bring me something – anything – to eat as long as it was warm.
I offered to share my sandwich with the nun but just a few moments later she and the heavily pregnant woman were let through the barriers and headed towards the security checks to get inside the conference centre.
Shortly afterwards, I too found myself being helped over the gate by a Danish policeman. My colleague had been able to pull some strings and as night fell I entered the building, along with my Save the Children colleagues, who had been queuing at another entrance.
I couldn’t quite believe what had happened – and that I had finally been allowed in – but was sure it was just a blip and that by tomorrow everything would be up and there wouldn’t be any problems getting into the building again.