Climate protests: fury, and optimism, in the Glasgow rain

As Cop26 reached halfway stage, rallies were held around the world, with actor Idris Elba among those calling for African voices to be central to public debate

By Libby Brooks, Fiona Harvey
Nina Lakhani and Robin McKie

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Glasgow on Saturday to demand stronger climate action from world leaders as the climate crisis summit reached its halfway stage.

Protests were also held in London and other parts of Britain. There were rallies in South Korea, Indonesia, the Netherlands and France. Environmental groups, charities, climate activists, trade unionists and indigenous people all joined the Glasgow march in heavy rain. Extinction Rebellion activists dressed as Ghostbusters while another group, Scientist Rebellion – wearing white lab coats – blocked King George V bridge, one of the city’s busiest routes.

Organisers claimed more than 100,000 people turned up for the march, which began in Kelvingrove Park in the city’s west end and finished at Glasgow Green in the east.

Lucy Bell, who works for the Vegan Kind, an online vegan supermarket based in Rutherglen, said: “There are so many people here from different backgrounds. It’s easy to get discouraged by the negotiations going on behind closed doors, but I’m feeling optimistic.”Cop26 delegates were also scattered among the huge crowds. Tracy Sonny, 37, a negotiator from Botswana, said he was taking part to show solidarity and to call for more unity. “We need to see more political will and a change in mindset … we’re already feeling the impact of climate change; we need to respond now, people are drowning,” he said.The mood was “celebratory, positive and punchy”, according to Mary Martin from Coatbridge. She was “walking the walk”, she said, shivering against the strong wind. As for the progress of the climate talks, “I’m holding my breath,” she said.

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