COP26: Greta Thunberg tells Glasgow 'they cannot ignore us' as thousands of protestors take part in a youth strike across the city
As the COP26 talks continue, youth activists and local trade unionists staged a protest in Glasgow to demand action from leaders on climate change.
The Fridays For Future demonstration saw Greta Thunberg take to the stage in George Square among other speakers, including indigenous people from the Global South.
“Above all, they cannot ignore us,” shouted the 18-year-old Swedish activist as the crowd of thousands in the city centre hub cheered in agreement.
Many young people took the day off school or college to join the event and show how urgent the need for climate change solutions are.
Although the air was alive with hope and a sense of community, many protesting were sceptical of what the inner confines of the COP26 conference would achieve.
Scottish college student Oisin King, 17, said: “I’m here to make a systematic change and hopefully government has no choice but to listen to us. If they ignore us, then it’s shameful.
"The world literally has their eyes upon Glasgow and it’s great. I’m really happy to see how many youngsters are here and the age ranges. I’m seeing age ranges from new-borns in prams to the elderly.”
Seven-month-old Remy from the East End of Glasgow held up a small placard in his pram, stating “there is no planet B” as he wore a teddy-bear onesie.
His mother told me: “It will be nice to look back on pictures and think maybe we could change the world today.”
Asked whether he thought COP had been successful so far, Mr King said: "More change can be made and I don’t think a conference is enough. We need action and protests like this.
"I’ve heard a lot of schools are quite happy for their pupils going out and protesting, but at the same we are losing education over a matter, which we shouldn’t be losing education over, but this still is educational, especially to youngsters.”
Grace Dumas, 19, said: “We need a lot of social change. It’s doubtful, but considering the amount of people here we are still hopeful.
"I’m from Canada, but this is my first experience of COP26, but out on the streets I’m so inspired by everybody.
"I think young people’s voices are the most important at the moment. We want to die of old age and live in a world which we can enjoy the rewards of nature.
"I don’t know if today’s protest will achieve much as there is so much more that we need to do, but I am hopeful they will at least raise the profile of the climate change crisis.”
The march took place during Youth and Public Empowerment Day at the official COP26 event in Glasgow at the SEC. However, walking through the exclusive blue zone event it was hard to find young faces amongst the crowd of delegates and the media.
Young people who attended the official event, did, however, stage their own mini protest in the COP26 blue zone venue.
Shouting “power to the people” they walked to Kelvingrove to join the protest in a show of solidarity, demonstrating action is both ‘within and without’ the ‘exclusive’ event.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.