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Glasgow’s biggest protest unites diverse groups to fight for climate justice.

As part of the COP26 Coalition's Global Day of Action on Saturday 6 November, approximately 100,000 people took part in the Justice March from Kelvingrove Park to Glasgow Green to have their voices heard about the COP26 climate summit. The protest was diverse in age, causes and motivations amongst the attendees, ranging from calls for sustainability through Scottish Independence to climate justice in Sudan. Police were present as protestors marched for around four hours to Glasgow Green, where various prominent activists and representatives, including Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, gave speeches.

Scottish Labour MSP for Glasgow Pam Duncan-Glancy spoke to The Glasgow Guardian about her views on the global climate summit. Duncan-Glancy stated that she thinks the conference has been “done to Glasgow rather than with Glasgow”, expressing her belief that “we cannot have social justice without climate justice, and we cannot have climate justice without social justice”.

The MSP also expressed her disappointment that the conference was not fully accessible, as the Israeli minister for energy Karine Elharrar, who is also a wheelchair user, was excluded from the first day of talks due to a lack of accessibility. Duncan-Glancy spoke positively of the Green New Deal which would implement policies such as free public transport for those under 25 years of age and expressed admiration for the protesters’ strength of feeling for the cause: “We are here in a bucket of rain, on a Saturday morning, because we care."

Mike Forster from the International Socialist Alternative (ISA) spoke of his belief in the importance of grassroots action and trade unions to challenge capitalist politics saying “the politicians at COP26 have completely failed to realise the scale of the problem,” expressing deep distrust in current global leaders to adequately address the urgency of the climate crisis. When asked whether he had a message for the decision-makers at COP26, he warned: “We’re coming for you. We don’t trust you. You’re gonna have to move aside and make way for a generation that knows what needs to be done.”

Similarly, Doctors for Extinction Rebellion member Dr. Helen Angel expressed a sense of distrust that the promises being made at the conference would not be kept and that radical change would not materialise. Angel stated: “The power should be with the people. This is supposed to be a democratic country, we’re not supposed to be ruled by the oil companies, we’re supposed to be ruled by our government. Our government is supposed to protect us.” Regarding health and climate justice, Angel highlighted the inseparable nature of planetary and human health, stating that when “our government is still going for a new coal mine and new oil fields, it’s like genocide. They are killing humanity."


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