While the politicians were blah-blah-blah-ing at the COP26 conference in Glasgow today, millions of people were marching around the world in over 300 actions for climate justice. In Britain, the biggest march was in Glasgow, where up to 100,000 people marched with soaring sprits despite pouring rain. Up to 25,000 joined the demonstration in London, while thousands joined marches in Sheffield, Cardiff, Oxford, Brighton and Birmingham. Activists reported over 1,000 in Manchester, Nottingham and Cambridge, and there were also marches in many more places (reports and pics welcome in comments!)
Despite initially appalling weather, the Glasgow protest was a great success. Up to 100,000 joined protests with lively (and sometimes angry) chanting.
just about climate change in isolation, but about the intersections between racism, colonialism and environmental disaster. There were many Black people and People of Colour, and an impressive international presence.
The day included a protest at JP Morgan, highlighting the role of the finance sector in funding the fossil fuel industry.
When we reached Trafalgar square there was a giant lorry stage with huge screen above it and PA system. Unfortunately the long march meant the crowd rapidly shrank. Speeches were almost all from Women of Colour, and many of them represented the Global South and land defenders.
Between three and four thousand people marched through Oxford to a rally in Broad Street.
The march attracted large numbers of people who don’t normally come on demonstrations, as well as the usual suspects. This was shown by the variety of slogans on the placards and banners, varying from the outright revolutionary to the belief that we should all pull together to solve a common crisis.
Both he local Oxford MPs – Anneliese Dodds and Layla Moran spoke. Too many others focused on what politicians should do rather than building a
mass movement. One disappointment was that Oxford XR turned down the offer of a speaker, although Oxford Youth XR had two speakers. Good speeches were made by George Monbiot, who was not a scheduled speaker but was spotted in the crowd, Nick Eyre of the Oxford University Environmental Change Institute (who pointed out that nuclear power was not a solution to climate change) and Nabila Hafiz of Oxford Help The World (who raised the issues of flooding in Bangladesh and the the ecological disaster that is the Israeli occupation of Palestine).
In Manchester a union / worker bloc, led by the PCS samba band, marched to join the main demonstration (see video). About 1500 gathered in St Peter’s Square, heard speeches and marched around the city centre. Though this was the main demonstration for the North-West region, only UNISON and PCS had their regional banners there and mobilisation appeared to have been left to activists, with no visible presence of union officials.
Among the other demonstrations were Bristol, Cambridge, Sheffield, Norwich and Carlisle.
In Dundee on Friday a march set off very promptly from Magdelen Green, and went along
Perth Road past the supportive striking Unite members at Dundee University, did a loop in the city centre before speeches outside Caird Hall. There were around 200 people there, and a good mix of speakers including a student from Dundee High, someone from the Botanic Gardens, Living Rent and Dundee UNISON.