Thousands of activists gather in Glasgow for 'opening ceremony' of COP26 protests

30 October 2021, 18:20

Saturday&squot;s march has been dubbed the "opening ceremony" to a fortnight of protests
Saturday's march has been dubbed the "opening ceremony" to a fortnight of protests. Picture: Alamy Live News

By Daisy Stephens

Thousands of protestors have gathered in Glasgow ahead of COP26, including activists who entangled themselves in netting and others who marched thousands of miles to get there.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Members of Ocean Rebellion led a "dead merpeoples" demonstration, with activists lying motionless entangled in netting and litter near the Clyde in Glasgow to raise awareness of marine life loss.

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) Faith, artists and other pilgrimage groups who have walked thousands of miles to Scotland's largest city joined each other in a procession through the city centre on Saturday.

The event was said to be an "opening ceremony" to a series of non-violent direct actions being planned in Glasgow, around the UK and the world during the United Nations climate change convention.

Read more: Biden touches down in Europe ahead of G20 and COP26

Read more: Analysis: a fortnight where the planet's fate will be decided

The procession started at 2pm at the McLennan Arch on Glasgow Green, where XR Scotland's "Blue Rebels" formed a guard of honour for the pilgrims.

Eco protestors march through Glasgow

Those arriving in the city included Marcha Glasgow, a group of Spanish activists who took a ferry from Bilbao to Portsmouth to embark on a 30-day hike to Glasgow.

Camino to COP26 members have walked from London and Bristol to Glasgow in just under two months.

Young Christian Climate Network activists arrived in the city on Saturday after walking 1,200 miles from Cornwall.

Read more: COP26: What could be decided at the key climate summit?

Read more: How will COP26 be carbon neutral?

Ecumenical Pilgrimage for Climate Justice arrived in Glasgow from Poland, Sweden and Germany - and Pilgrimage for COP26 has walked from Dunbar to Glasgow.

What is COP26?

Glasgow-based artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich paraded with the Serpent of Capitalism, a 30-metre sculptural artwork alongside the pilgrimage groups.

Alex Cochrane, of XR Glasgow, said the northern hemisphere had a "carbon-intensive lifestyle" that was impacting countries in the south.

"COP26 must end a growing crime against humanity by wealthy governments where the global south are sacrificed to bear the brunt of the global north's affluent, carbon-intensive lifestyles," he said.

"We welcome the pilgrims of faith - and no faith - who are walking to COP26 to demand governments also walk the walk for the global south."

Yaz Ashmawi, of XR Pilgrim, said: "Countries around the world are already suffering the consequences of our historic emissions in the west, and small island states like the Maldives will be submerged by rising seas if no immediate action is taken on the climate.

"As people of faith we have a spiritual duty of care to those who are less fortunate than us, so we have been using this walk to raise money for activists in financially disadvantaged countries that are already impacted, to empower them to join this conversation themselves."

Read more: Glasgow facing 'public health crisis' with bin workers due to strike during COP26

Read more: What is COP26 and why does it matter? A complete guide to the key climate summit

The marches come the day before world leaders are to meet in Glasgow for the crucial climate conference where countries are under pressure to discuss and increase their ambition to tackle the climate crisis.

Up to 30,000 people will descend on the city over a two-week period.

On Friday, Ocean Rebellion activists poured "oil" in front of Glasgow's COP26 venue in protest ahead of the event.

Another four XR protesters locked themselves to the Memorial Gates at the University of Glasgow using bike locks to demand that the establishment adopt the Green New Deal - a climate strategy developed by students and staff at the university.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, Scotland's most senior police officer, said his force will respond "swiftly and robustly" to protesters who try to disrupt the summit.

He said the force - together with 7,000 officers from other parts of the UK who have been deployed to Scotland to help police COP26 - was "ready for the challenges that lie ahead".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

The M25 motorway closures are to set to cause travel chaos

Motorway misery: M25, M4 and M1 closures set to disrupt drivers this week – find out if you’re affected

Giovanni Pernice is expecting to be cleared following a misconduct probe, it is understood.

Ex-Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice 'expects to be cleared' amid misconduct allegations

The Prince Albert memorial has been 'considered offensive'

Prince Albert Memorial branded 'offensive' as it reflects 'Victorian view of the world'

Lord Falconer has said 'the time has come' for assisted dying reform

'The time has come': Lord Falconer calls for 'significant' assisted dying reform ahead of his new bill being introduced

An independent review recommended teachers and nurses get 5.5% pay rises

'There's also a cost to no deal': Treasury minister hints at above-inflation pay rise for public sector workers

Yvette Cooper vows to crackdown on illegal immigration

Beauty salons and car washes to be targeted in illegal immigration blitz as Home Secretary redeploys Rwanda scheme staff

Sarah Justine Packwood, 54, and her husband, Brett Clibbery, 70.

Mystery as Brit woman and husband attempting to cross Atlantic found dead in lifeboat one month after going missing

Exclusive
Five days of big names: LBC announces guest host week

Five days of big names: LBC announces guest host week

Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves vows 'big bang' for pensions as government launches review in bid to boost investment and savings

Amanda Abbington has claimed Giovanni Pernice was 'cruel and abusive'.

Strictly's Amanda Abbington breaks silence over 'cruel' Giovanni Pernice - as first female pro under fire

Donald Trump spoke at a rally for the first time since he was shot in the ear

Donald Trump says he ‘took a bullet for democracy’ at first rally since assassination attempt

A burnt out car in the Leeds suburb of Harehills, after vehicles were set on fire and a police car was overturned as residents were warned to stay home following an outbreak of disorder on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2024.

Man charged with arson after bus set on fire in Leeds riots over children allegedly removed from local family

Craig Revel Horwood has said the recent allegations have come as a 'shock' to him

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood breaks silence after 'shock' of dancing show's abuse allegations

A series of Israeli strikes have been launched against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah in Yemen

Israel launches series of air strikes on Houthi-controlled city in Yemen day after group claim deadly attack on Tel Aviv

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's GoFundMe page hits £70k after teen's mum appeals for funeral donations