COP26: Saturday’s big march

Photo: Peter A

I have been on very few marches; a couple of years ago for Scottish independence, 40-odd years ago for CND. I’d never be considered a radical but had to join this one. Saturday’s outing was a protest against the causes of climate change and those behind it; it took place in Glasgow on 6 November 2021 with the two-week COP26 conference at its halfway point. 

Got the train from my hometown about 11.00 on Saturday morning and was at Kelvingrove Park, where marchers were to converge, by 11.50. As I entered the park and started to move through it to the joining point, the strong wind scattered a brisk confetti of golden leaves from trees lining the pathway; it felt like the prelude to a special day, and it was. 

Photo: Peter A

There were so many people there, gathering together in their various groups, that it was a very long time before the march got underway. I read reports that it took two hours for marchers to leave Kelvingrove park but I wasn’t checking the time. I was looking through the driving rain, and taking in the spectacle around me, the sheer numbers of people from every age group, every walk of life, so many countries.

Amongst the more original signs carried by protestors there were many which reflected the Scottish sense of humour. My favourite, obviously carried by a fan of Limmy, was ‘DON’T TURN THE WEANS AGAINST US!’

Photo: Peter A

Indeed, I was surrounded by ‘weans’ from babes in arms and buggies to teenagers, so many teenagers, clearly inspired by the high profile young activists from various corners of the planet who have shown uncompromising maturity in placing necessary pressure on world leaders.

The protestors assembled in Kelvingrove Park were not the sort to be deterred by the torrential rain and wind, which in any case seemed appropriate to the event. As well as representing some of the weather changes currently taking place in the Northern Hemisphere, it also seemed to characterise the earth’s anxiety and anger.

Video: Peter A

There were two or three breaks in the bad weather as we all proceeded through Glasgow to arrive at Glasgow Green, and you’ll see that most of my photos/video are taken during these short periods of respite.

Video: Peter A

I wish to minimise my narrative and leave the photographic images to tell the story of this special day, so I’ll conclude with just this. 

On Saturday I was proud of Glasgow and I was delighted that an estimated 100,000 marched, with many others lining the streets. I was impressed that many who joined the march had to overcome various obstacles to participate. For me this included those who those who had to travel massive distances to be there and the disabled participants, some walking with difficulty others with assistive equipment.  

However, most impressive in my humble opinion was the enthusiastic engagement of the young people who marched giving me hope that they will be around much longer than I shall with their staunch commitment to hold governments and corporations to account. 

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