Thousands rally in Glasgow to call for climate justice

Rain clouds cast a gloomy pall over Glasgow yesterday, but that did not stop more than 100,000 people from taking to the streets in the city to call for more climate justice as part of a worldwide campaign.

They gathered near the COP26 climate summit venue, marching from Kelvingrove Park to the Glasgow City Centre about 4km away to the sound of beating drums. They carried signs that urged world leaders to respect the rights of indigenous communities and consider how climate change was impacting the most marginalised of groups, from refugees to women and those facing persecution from governments back home.

Similar demonstrations were carried out simultaneously all over the world, including in Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Organisers estimate that more than two million took part in the protests worldwide.

"Climate refugees welcome," read some signs in Glasgow, while others toted placards that highlighted how class could impact a group's ability to deal with climate change.

Ms Pauline Lancon, 30, a protester from France who was at the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, told The Sunday Times that women in many parts of the world are negatively impacted by climate change.

"They are the ones taking care of their families, they are the ones producing the food, so they're really at the centre of the climate crisis and should be part of the solution," said Ms Lancon, who is a member of the Women and Gender Constituency - a coalition of groups that ensure gender equality and women's human rights are central to climate negotiations.

The protest was organised by the Britain-based COP26 Coalition, a group that comprises faith, youth, environment and development non-government groups, trade unions, grassroots community campaigns, as well as migrant and racial justice networks.

Different communities experience climate impacts differently, with some bearing the brunt of the planetary crisis more than others. The call for climate justice is a call for climate policies to involve these communities in decision-making so that their rights are respected.

Ms Pema Doma, 27, the granddaughter of Tibetan nomads, was at the protest to call for her community to be more included in climate policy.

"In the past several decades, over a million Tibetan nomads have been resettled from the plateau and forced to live in urbanised areas, forced to change their way of life that they've had for thousands of years," she said.

Tibetans have not been included in decisions of climate policy or finding solutions, Ms Doma added.

Yesterday's march marked the second consecutive day of protests, after young people and their supporters hit the streets on Friday, which had been designated as Youth Day at COP26.

Protester Alex Sidney, 18, cycled from Manchester to Glasgow to call for stronger climate action.

He told The Sunday Times: "Leaders of this country and other countries need to make radical change to stop the climate crisis. They are simply not doing enough. I'm making a statement here to demand they stop talking and do something about it."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 07, 2021, with the headline Thousands rally in Glasgow to call for climate justice. Subscribe