The Climate Pool: Boos & Queues: A seven-hour saga getting into the conference | Facebook
Seth's toes are finally warm. In his security photo he is grinning like a child -- and with reason. He's finally in.
"You have no idea how important water and a bathroom is until you don't have it," he said after waiting 7 hours and 20 minutes to enter the Copenhagen climate talks.
With U.N. security letting in only those cleared last week, hundreds of accredited delegates, journalists and NGO representatives were left to stand for hours in near-freezing temperatures before being let through. "It was crazy," AP's Seth Borenstein said. "You couldn't leave the line. You couldn't go to the bathroom, you couldn't eat. Then snowflakes started falling. One woman even said, 'if lightning strikes me, would they take me out of line?'"
People started handing out food -- one gave out tangerines, another croissants. A man screamed "I don't need food. I need socks! I'm freezing my ass off out here." At one point, a U.N. official announced the wait would be longer, prompting the crowd to boo and chant "Let Us In!"
Seth himself stepped into the line at 7:55 a.m. and was through at 3:15 p.m., but only after another AP reporter, John Heilprin, "saved my bacon" by persuading a U.N. security guard to go out and fetch him. "John was afraid to go out himself in case they wouldn't let him back in ... the first thing I did when I saw him was give him a big hug. I have never been so grateful to be indoors." Seth's neighbors in line? "Oh they're still out there."
UPDATE: At 5 p.m., U.N. officials told everyone still in line that accreditation would close at 6 p.m. and so they should leave until Tuesday morning. Police started pulling people out of the crowd, which shouted back "Shame on the U.N.!" The U.N. then apologized for the inconvenience -- a gesture met with more booing and chanting.