25,000 protesters march in COP26 youth strike

5 November 2021 

25,000 people marched today in Glasgow as part of a climate youth strike as the first week of COP26 comes to an end.

Beginning in Kelvingrove Park, throngs of demonstrators carrying signs and echoing chants for climate justice made their way to George Square for a rally that heard from an array of speakers. 

Addressing the thousands of attendees, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg declared the ongoing international COP26 climate negotiations, “a failure.” 

“It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place. More and more people are starting to realise this, and many are starting to ask themselves: what will it take for the people in power to wake up?” She told the crowd. 

“But let’s be clear – they are already awake and they know exactly what they are doing. They know exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to maintain business as usual,” she added. 

The conference, she concluded, amounted to more “blah blah blah” rather than actually acting to address the climate crisis. 

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate in her address to the rally highlighted the disproportionate brunt that Global South bear for the climate crisis and stressed that “historically, Africa is responsible for 3 per cent of global emissions, and yet Africans are suffering some of the most brutal impacts fuelled by the climate crisis.” 

“While the African continent and the global south are on the frontlines of the global crisis, they are not on the front pages of the world’s newspapers. 

“We’ve seen activists from the most affected areas being erased from pictures, from conversations and removed from rooms, but how will we have climate justice if people from the most affected areas are not being listened to?” she asked the crowd. 

Vanessa was cropped out of a photo taken by the Associated Press at Davos in January 2020 and was also not included in some media images of a meeting with Greta Thunberg and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week. 

Among those in the crowd itself included Flossie Donnelly, an Irish teenage climate activist who arrived this morning in Glasgow to take part in the march. 

“This is our last best solution to stop climate change, it’s going to be one of the most historical moments for us and if I want to fight for my future this is where I have to go,” Flossie told The Green News. 

“It is really amazing to see how many have shown up to support the climate – we all want to stop climate change. We all want a future and it’s time we all start working together for it,” she continued. 

Flossie Donnelly at the COP26 youth strike in Glasgow photo: Kayle Crosson

The rally at George’s Square heard from activists who had come from the worldover for COP26. Speakers addressing the rally included representatives from Scottish trade unions and indigenous people from the Amazon who relayed the extensive damage that had been done to their land as a result of fossil fuel extraction. 

Pakistani climate justice activist Ayisha Siddiqa also addressed the rally and before reading aloud a poem, told the crowd that “it can be hard to imagine a world that doesn’t exist when everything and everyone is telling you to give up, but I am in the business of holding people’s hands in my palm and asking them to bet on a tomorrow.” 

“Hope is a terrifying affair, but one we must make space for,” Ayisha said. 

protesters participating from windows overlooking the COP26 youth strike in Glasgow photo: Kayle Crosson
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Kayle Crosson