As the UN climate conference COP26 continued in Glasgow on Saturday, high level talks between international power wielders went on at the event space on the banks of the River Clyde. Meanwhile, through the centre of the city, the real stakeholders in the future of the planet marched in their thousands to make their voices heard.
The day saw an estimated 100,000 people take to the streets of the city to march for climate justice. The Glasgow-based staff of the International Network of Street Papers were in attendance to help spread the message that climate justice is social justice, and that it should be inclusive of all members of society. They were joined by like-minded campaigners, activists, networks, NGOs and communities in Glasgow, and similar marches took place around the world.
— International Network of Street Papers (@_INSP) November 6, 2021
A typically Scottish protest, rain lashed down for much of the early part of the day, with some sunshine and blue skies later on, a perhaps too-on-the-nose metaphor for the dire state of the climate crisis – things are bad, but there are glimmers of hope. The weather did not dampen any enthusiasm.
The march was a mix of social groups and causes coming together in solidarity for the common cause of climate justice, brandishing imaginative signs and catchy chants.
The representation and ethos of the protest is in line with calls from street papers for climate justice that is intersectional, takes inequality into account, and which recognises that people living in poverty are likely to be more impacted by the crisis and are in need of more protection and support.
An overwhelmingly calm, peaceful and good-natured day, the only disturbance came as police attempted to remove the direct action group Scientist Rebellion, which had blocked the King George V bridge which connects the centre and south parts of the city. More alarmingly, the main march was temporarily halted as police allegedly ‘kettled’ a portion of the protestors.
COP26 continues for another week, with more high-profile names flying in to give their input. However, reports suggest that many communities and groups – especially representatives from Indigenous peoples throughout the world – vital to environmental defence have been excluded from the conference. Saturday’s protest shows that the real action is being taken by people on the streets.
See more photos from the march below.