COP26: The history of Glasgow in 15 images

By Mary McCool
BBC Scotland news

Image source, fake images

As the official business of the UN climate summit took place behind closed doors, some of the most striking demonstrations, passionate speeches and unusual stories unfolded on the streets of Glasgow.

The Media Frenzy by Greta Thunberg

It’s not often that you see an 18-year-old surrounded by police officers and journalists at Glasgow Central Station, but Greta Thunberg is not your average teenager.

During his time in the city, people flocked to the venues and rallies where he was rumored to appear, hoping to catch a glimpse or a quick word in front of the camera.

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Greta Thunberg called the COP26 climate summit a “greenwashing festival of the global north”

After the first day of discussions at the summit, as world leaders enjoyed a glamorous VIP dinner at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, she addressed a crowd at Govan’s Festival Park and said that politicians were “pretending to take our future seriously. “

Reiterating his comments at the Youth4Climate conference in Milan in September, he said: “We are tired of [leaders’] bla bla bla”.

He later joined thousands of young people in the Fridays for Future march and delivered a speech in George Square, calling the summit a “failure” and a “global northern greenwash festival.”

Arrival of the Rainbow Warrior

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The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior ship sails under the Erskine Bridge

Glasgow residents were told to expect disruptions in their daily lives during the summit, including through road closures.

Among the first to make headlines was the arrival of the Rainbow Warrior, the famous Greenpeace ship, which resulted in the temporary closure of the Erskine Bridge while the ship sailed underneath.

It was transporting four young climate activists from areas affected by climate change and hoping to dock in front of the conference venue, but instead stopped a couple of miles upriver at King George V.

The horse and cart that came from Cornwall.


Michael Ransley and Tarateeno the Marvelous stopped for a break on Victoria Road in Glasgow

At the beginning of last week, passersby on Victoria Road may have been lucky enough to see Taranteno the Marvelous pass by.

The 15-year-old Cob was with owners Michael Ransley and his partner, Dr Phoebe Beedell, who left Cornwall for COP26 in the spring of 2019.

They had originally left for Glasgow more than two years ago, but delayed their arrival until the summit was rescheduled.

The activists aimed to raise awareness of the climate crisis throughout the host city and were saddened to see the number of cars on the roads.

The new generation of climate activists

Image source, PA media

Vanessa Nakate is one of the best known of the new generation of activists against global warming, and was the first Fridays for Future activist in Uganda.

The 24-year-old made her mark in both massive protests over the weekend, using passionate speeches to raise awareness of the plight of the global south.

And if Ms. Thunberg was the ruler of the sound bites, Ms. Nakate wowed audiences with first-hand experiences of communities devastated by weather disasters.

As one of the key speakers at the Global Day of Action rally in Glasgow Green, she told crowds how night storms seriously damaged a school that she and other activists helped build in her home country.

“The strong winds and heavy rains will not stop, because the words and promises of the leaders do not match their actions,” he said.

The baby who joined a rally before his first birthday


A smiling Juneau came to her first protest before her first birthday.

People of all ages joined the schoolchildren as they marched from Kelvingrove Park to George Square on November 5; among the youngest was Juneau, 11 months old.

She and her mother, April Hamilton, had traveled from Paisley because it was “too important” not to join the rally.

Ms. Hamilton, a teacher, praised Greta Thunberg, who said she was an amazing role model for her daughter.

The scientists who closed a bridge

Image source, Reuters

Shortly before 100,000 people walked through the city center on November 6, a group of scientists chained themselves to the King George V.

The Scientist Rebellion group said they could “no longer trust our leaders to save us” and that they had a “moral duty to act.”

Specialized police teams used bolt cutters to remove the 21 activists. who were later arrested and released in a company.

The colorful dress

Image source, fake images

The Red Rebels again added a dramatic splash of color to the protests

Despite the torrential rain on Saturday, spirits were far from quenching, in part due to the colorful costumes and indigenous clothing on display.

Some groups were not represented during the official conference proceedings, but were nonetheless seen in one of the largest protests in Glasgow in memory.

Image source, fake images

Members of indigenous groups, some of whom had no formal representation at the summit, joined the march.


Others used their costumes to convey their message.

Organizers said around 100,000 marched through the city for the rally on Glasgow Green.

Meanwhile, the police praised the “good-natured” activists who were “in a good mood” throughout the day.

The ‘artivism’

Image source, Bianca csenki

This mural in Partick is the work of Daniel Rupaszov, a 25-year-old Hungarian who belongs to a group of artists and activists who visit the COP every year to create art that highlights the climate crisis.

He is one of many activists who have expressed their views through works of art, from a “carbon unicorn” made by Friends of the Earth to a large dot screen by Stiches for Survival.

The coffee that fed a horde of vegans

Brave Bakers in Saltmarket was one of the few businesses in the area that chose to stay open the day 100,000 protesters passed on their way to Glasgow Green.

Arouge Salin had worked at the cafeteria for about two months when the staff of three were inundated with soggy customers vying for hot coffee and vegan pastries.

She told the BBC: “It started out quiet, but we had a queue outside the store until the walk passed; it wouldn’t stop from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM, and we normally close at 5:30 PM.”

“We sold everything vegan, which never happens. The only thing we had left was our baked chicken and bacon, which is usually the first thing to go.

“And we sold so many coffees that our machine jammed. I think people just wanted something hot.”

And finally, the banner jokes

In the absence of flashy costumes or floats, young people used their imaginations to paint flashy slogans on protest posters for the youth march.

The activists made sure that their messages were heard in their own voice, either with a bit of humor or with a Scottish accent.

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