Italian environment minister forced to queue in Copenhagen crush

Italy's glamorous Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo was just another victim of the chaotic queuing system when she tried to get into the global climate change negotiations in Copenhagen this afternoon.

The queues, widely reported as being up to eight hours long on Monday as the world’s press, NGOs and politicians descended on the city for the final week of negotiations, should have died down by Wednesday.

But a major protest by demonstrators on the periphery of the site brought things to a standstill by mid-morning and the UN security were in a cautious mood, sealing the centre completely.

While the obvious intention was to prevent protestors storming the venue, the policy also left those who should have been granted access out in the cold, under a steely sky that kept trying to snow.

Crushed amongst the rabble of reporters and charity workers were Ms Prestigiacomo and here aides, whose mood swung from gracious acceptance of the situation to frustration and anger that the environment minister of the seventh largest economy in the world was effectively barred from participating.

The situation lasted about an hour before she was finally shuffled through, sans delegation, some 20 minutes before the police begun to allow others to trickle back into the centre.

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