People from almost every continent gathered for marches and rallies on Saturday to mark a World Day for Climate Justice, midway through the Glasgow climate change summit.
Activists in the Philippines, which are eight hours ahead of the UK, had already completed their rally as protesters gathered in Scotland. Gatherings were also held in South Korea, Indonesia, the Netherlands and France. The Belgian branch of Extinction Rebellion occupied a street in Brussels.
By 11am in Glasgow, the rain had turned into a regular downpour, but the crowds still gathered at Kelvingrove Park, wearing shiny rain gear and carrying homemade signs. Buses disgorged their passengers at the park entrance in thick lines of police, while activists struggled to assemble banners in the wind.
Nonetheless, at first, the mood was for joyous acceptance. âWhat do you expect from a demonstration in Glasgow? Asked Lucy Bell, who works for Vegan Kind, an online vegan supermarket based in Rutherglen. âThere are so many people here from different backgrounds. It is easy to get discouraged by the negotiations taking place behind closed doors, but I am optimistic this morning despite the rain.
In Glasgow city center, the direct action group Scientist Rebellion blocked the King George V Bridge, one of the main routes to the south, at around 11:30 a.m. About twenty scientists, from students to a retired professor, all dressed in lab coats, stood chained by their necks. The coalition of activist academics believes that non-violent civil disobedience is the only option left to draw attention to the end of the climate crisis.
“There have been 25 previous cops with no measurable impact on GHGs [greenhouse gas] shows, âsaid Tim Hewlett, co-founder and one of those on the bridge. âIn fact, about half of GHG emissions have been emitted since COP1 in 1995. So we are not here to speak the truth to power – they already know it – but to the poor, and to make their voice heard. tower. Hewlett added that the lab coats they wore offered at least some protection from the rain.
Jo Harknett, 48, came from Edinburgh to Glasgow with her daughter Grace, 12, and mother Linda, 73. She said, âWe feel lucky to live near the cop rally, so we wanted to show our support and solidarity; to raise our voices for the people who cannot be here and to remind those who hold the purse strings and write policies that the time for radical change is now and that they can lead the way.
Grainne McGinn, 22, from Glasgow attended Friday’s youth protest and Saturday’s biggest march for climate justice. âClimate change is so important, but the voices of young people, especially the voices of young people with disabilities, are not being heard. We have seen in the news how inaccessible the police are to delegates, it is the daily experience of all people with disabilities and it is so important that our voices are heard in the conversation on climate change. I am here to represent.
Vegan activists battled heavy storms to make their point with four giant inflatable animals tied to ropes above their heads or tied to the ground. Each symbolized a different problem in the livestock industry: a cow for methane, a chicken for Covid and health, a fish for microplastics and a pig for obesity. âThe cow in the room is being ignored by this cop,â said Carl Le Blanc of Climate Healers. âAnimal farming has been taken off the agenda and put on the menu. “
Anja Schoene, 43, an environmental consultant who lives in Glasgow, told The Guardian: âI came here because I care not only about my little girl and my family, but everyone else, not only in this area. countries but all over the world. I’m in my early forties and it’s always portrayed as if it’s just a problem for the youngsters, but when I’m 80, I don’t want to die of heat stroke, because of the warming. That’s why it’s important to me, but I also care about other people who have to live with the consequences today. ”
Nicola Sturgeon said she was confident Saturday’s mass climate march would be “appropriately” monitored after Cop26 activists expressed concerns about the “heavy” policing of the protests in the city. during the first week of the summit.
Between 50,000 and 100,000 people are expected to join in on World Climate Justice Day in Glasgow, with over 200 similar events worldwide and over 100 in the UK alone.
Sturgeon told reporters on Friday that Iain Livingstone, the Scottish Police Chief Constable, spoke with the force’s independent advisory group after the concerns were raised in an open letter released Thursday evening.
The walk started from Kelvingrove Park at noon and made its way through town to Glasgow Green for a rally with speakers including Greta Thunberg, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Vanessa Nakate and Darren McGarvey.
Cop Coalition spokesperson Asad Rehman said: âWe are taking to the streets around the world this weekend to push governments from climate inaction to climate justice.
âIt was the least accessible climate summit ever – with so many people left out of the talks or unable to do so in the first place. Today, these people are making their voices heard.
Deputy Chief Constable Gary Ritchie called on protesters to act responsibly and warned those heading to Glasgow to be prepared for delays.
He added: âThere will be an increased police presence in Glasgow and the roads, public transport and streets will be much busier than one would normally expect in the city on a Saturday.
“If you are going to a march, please act responsibly, be respectful in your actions, and follow the route and instructions given to you by the event organizers or the police.”