COP26: Hundreds of activists march through venue in protest at ‘lack of progress’

Two people were led away by police after they tried to scale the fence outside the venue

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Hundreds of activists from around the world have marched through the COP26 venue in Glasgow, leaving a gathering in one of the main halls to join a demonstration outside.

The marchers sang and chanted as they made their way through the summit’s blue zone, with a group of indigenous activists leading the procession.

They carried banners and red ribbons to represent the red lines crossed by negotiators.

Two people were led away by police after they tried to scale the fence outside the venue.

Police Scotland said two men, aged 61 and 30, were arrested over an alleged breach of the peace.

Earlier, several global, civil society groups took to the stage at the climate summit for a “People’s Plenary” session.

The COP26 Coalition organised the event on Friday, with one of the UN climate conference’s halls filled with hundreds of people.

The demonstration took place on the final scheduled day of COP26, though the summit is expected to overrun into the weekend.

Following the march through the venue, they joined a rally held by Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and other groups at the gates on Finnieston Street.

One of those speaking at the People’s Plenary was Ta’Kaiya Blaney, an indigenous activist from Canada.

She said: “Myself and others have been criminalised by our government.

“I watched (Canadian prime minister) Justin Trudeau pose for pictures with indigenous land defenders, meanwhile, land defenders are taken as political prisoners back home.”

Mary Church, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the meeting was to express “deep frustration” with the climate summit.

She said: “We are hurtling ever closer to reaching the critical 1.5C threshold.

“Climate change already impacts and threatens billions of lives.”

At the rally outside, activists gathered to express their anger at the climate negotiations.

One of those who had travelled to the conference from Brazil was Nayara Castiglioni Amaral, a 29-year-old member of the youth climate group Engajamundo.

She said: “It was such an important COP, but it was not different from any of the others.

“It was promises, it’s all ‘blah, blah blah’ really.

“They’re not making any progress in the text.”

She said the trip to Scotland was still worthwhile, saying “even though it’s far away, civil society needs to be here”.

She added: “Last weekend, it was one of the greatest climate protests.

“I think (the) city really came together and joined us to make pressure.”

Freddy Medina, from Chile, said droughts and periods of intensive rain caused by climate change were causing damage in his community of Putre high in the Andes.

He said: “I think the civil society of Glasgow is very aware of what is happening and they have been very welcoming.”

Asked how he felt about the progress at COP26, he added: “Sometimes it’s really frustrating, however, when you see people from different parts of the world, building solutions and connections you feel it’s possible to advance.”

Earlier on Friday, activists from Oxfam dressed as firefighters while wearing “big heads” resembling world leaders such as Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron.

They gathered around a globe on top of a simulated bonfire in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square.

The charity said: “While the world is on fire, some of the world’s richest and most polluting nations are ineffective firefighters.”