People march for the Indigenous Future’s Network in Glasgow city center, one person holding a sign that reads “climate justice without racial justice is the new colonialism”. Many other people hold other political signs about the climate crisis.
Credit: Athina Bohner

Thousands take to the streets for Fridays for Future Glasgow

By Athina Bohner, Jordan Hunter and Rothery Sullivan

The march set off from Kelvingrove Park and ended with a speech by Greta Thunberg in George Square.

On Friday, 5 November, over 30,000 activists of all ages took to the streets of Glasgow to protest the climate crisis. The march started at 11:00am in Kelvingrove Park and ended in George Square. The day was part of the Fridays for Future protests that were started by Greta Thunberg in 2018, who rallied and spoke at the end of the event. 

The protest highlighted diverse voices, including indigenous climate activists from the Global South. Almost all of the speeches in George Square were given by indigenous peoples of all ages. The march also saw activists from all over the world. Corresponding with the Friday’s for Future protests, there were also many children who “striked” from school that day to protest for the climate. 

Andrea Ixchiu, an indigenous K’iche activist from Guatemala, spoke to the Glasgow Guardian about her campaign. When asked what message she would like to give to the world leaders at COP26, she said: “Stop lying to the people and start assuming the responsibility that you have on your shoulders.” She added that politicians “are not listening at all to indigenous voices. But, even if they do not hear us, we are going to scream.”

Carolina Cuesta, an activist from Uruguay, stated: “We want this COP to be the last COP of words and a COP of action”, and that she felt “really empowered, really welcome here [in Glasgow].” 

Political figures were also present at the march. The Glasgow Guardian spoke to Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens MSP for West Scotland, who said, “It’s the young people here today who are driving that kind of change. They are seeing their futures being taken from them. Why? By the folk who are at the SECC, who have let them down year, after year, after year at previous COPs.” The MSP continued, “Solidarity is essential because this is a global emergency. But, it’s a profound injustice because the people it’s affecting the most, the people it’s affecting already, are the ones who did the least to cause it.” 

The children at the event appeared passionate about the climate crisis, too. The Glasgow Guardian spoke to one child about why it was important to have young people involved in climate activism. They said: “to show that we’re the ones that are going to be suffering later. The decisions the world leaders make are decisions that are going to ruin our future.” The Glasgow Guardian also asked Cammy, age 8, if he had a message for the world leaders of COP26, to which he replied: “Act now because we don’t get another chance. Stop messing with my future.” 

While many speakers at the event came from the Global South, including Vanessa Nakate, who was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine, local speakers included representatives of trade unions, such as the currently striking GMB and Unite. Speakers from the Global South included Amazonian indegenous peoples, a West Papuan chief, and campaigners from Colombia where environmental activists have been killed.

Finishing off the evening was a speech from Greta Thunberg. Greta called out the COP26 conference as a “greenwashing” event and criticised leaders saying, “they are already awake, they know exactly what they are doing, they know exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing.” She continued arguing that the climate crisis is an intersectional issue noting: “The climate and ecological crisis does not exist in a vacuum, but is directly tied to other crises and injustices that date back to colonialism and beyond. Crises based on the idea that some people are worth more than others.” Greta finished her seven minute speech calling on people to join her for the Global Day of Climate Action protest the next day. 


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