The Red Rebel Brigade, part of Extinction Rebellion (XR), arrived in Glasgow Central Station on 1 November on the London Euston train from various English cities.
The Red Rebels were joined by a group of Scottish XR rebels upon their arrival. The two groups then delivered a solemn and theatrical silent procession around the train station, before reciting a poem aimed at the world leaders involved in the COP26 conference, warning of the consequences of the climate crisis. Rebels wore the traditional costume of their brigade: red robes and head veils with painted white faces and red lips. The colour red is intended to symbolize the common blood we share with all species.
However, The Glasgow Guardian has learned that there was frustration within some XR groups that some Scottish Rebels attended, believing that the turnout at the procession was embarrassing for the group, with a number of journalists in attendance to see a fairly small group of XR protestors.
The Glasgow Guardian spoke to a number of XR supporters who came to Central Station to support the Red Rebels. One rebel, who travelled from Wales to be in Glasgow while the conference takes place, has been arrested 12 times for previous actions during XR protests, and is currently on a two-month suspended sentence. “So I can’t get arrested here today, but if it happens, it happens, I will go to prison for it. It means that much to me” he said.
“I do this for my son…he is going to have to live in this world. He is 27, and he is going to have to pick up what’s left, if we don’t change it now. The government’s policy of 2050 [to reach net zero emissions] is a waste of time” he added.
One woman, holding a placard saying “red alert don’t cop out”, who had travelled from Cornwall, described herself as a reluctant protestor who felt “uncomfortable”, but felt she had now been left with no choice but to take part. “It feels like I have to be here”, she told The Glasgow Guardian.
A French full-time activist, who travelled to Glasgow by train from Burgundy, told The Glasgow Guardian that while events such as the Red Rebels’ procession at Central are important, “more and more people must act in solidarity with activists from different countries because it is a bit late, the problem of climate is very urgent.”
An XR steward told The Glasgow Guardian that events like this are “absolutely vital”. “By stirring people up, we hope to stir up the politicians.”