Glasgow flooded with activists from all over the world for Cop26’s largest protest

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Saturday’s rally was Glasgow’s biggest COP26 demonstration as the spotlight was shone on the most vulnerable global communities that have been affected by climate change.

The “Global day of Action for Climate Justice” event was attended by around 100,000 people and is one of 250 simultaneous protests that have been planned all over the world, with 100 of those being in the UK.

In cold and wet conditions, the procession began in Kelvingrove Park and ended in Glasgow Green, where a rally has been addressed by speakers from all over the globe, including Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate.

When speaking to protestors, she said: “The climate and ecological crises are already here. But so are citizens from around the globe.

“Leaders rarely have the courage to lead. It takes citizens, people like you and me, to rise up and demand action. And when we do that in great enough numbers, our leaders will move.”

While in attendance, Greta Thunberg did not address the crowd after speaking at Friday’s rally in George Square. This was in keeping with the day’s theme of giving voice to activists from places most acutely affected by climate change.

A COP26 Coalition spokesperson said: “Across the world, the poorest people and communities of colour are too often those bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

“We have a unique opportunity to rewire our system as we recover from the [Covid] pandemic.

“We can either intensify the crisis to the point of no return, or lay the foundations for a just world where everyone’s needs are met.”

One marcher named Augustino, a naturalised Glaswegian, was marching in solidarity with the Tigray people of Ethiopa, who are suffering from the dual threat of civil conflict and climate change.

Augustino marching in solidarity with the Tigray people of Ethiopia. Credit: Ninian WilsonHe said: “All over the world people are protesting together. It’s the best thing for us all to be united now with political and environmental victims. I’m standing in solidarity with Ethiopia and the Tigray people.”

A recurring themes voiced by protestors has been the need for systemic change to tackle climate change. One of those calling for a overhaul to tackle systemic issues was David Klein, a Dutchman who has worked in sustainable sectors for 25 years.

David cycled all the way from the Netherlands to be at the march. Credit: Ninian Wilson

He said: “It always seems to be a case of one step forward and two steps back. I believe we really need a systemic change.”

Speaking of his experience at the march, he went on to warn that marches like Saturday’s might not be enough to bring about the required solution.

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