Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

COP26: Police in two-hour stand-off with ‘greenwashing’ protesters in Glasgow

There had been a lot of talk about the police operation around COP26 – for the first time, it was put to the test.

What started out as a colourful rally against so-called “greenwashing” by industry and governments, and against the Cambo oil field off Shetland, turned into a city centre stand-off between demonstrators and police.

And, for a while, it was messy.

It was far from a riot – indeed, there was no hint of violence that I saw on either side – but it was a fluid, untidy situation slap bang in the middle of town.

Protesters split-up and aimed for the premises of businesses they hold culpable for crimes against the environment, among them Lloyds and JP Morgan.

They were closely followed by police, whose tactic was to throw a ‘clothes line’ of officers across the street, and so contain them.

For a period of 45 minutes, they struggled and, before police could contain the fragmented crowd, activists had staged a sit-down protest by the building of SSE.

Arrests were made and Police Scotland said a few officers were assaulted with paint sprayed in their faces.

When the police eventually got a handle on the core of the crowd in Glasgow’s Renfield Street, two lines of officers on either side kettled them in and they were kept stationary for two hours before being shepherded away from the city centre.

Police on the ground made the point that the unscheduled march hadn’t been arranged in advance and their view was that public safety was an issue because they didn’t know how it was going to proceed.

Extinction Rebellion, one of the march organisers, say they’ve lost trust in the police based on their interactions since the start of COP26.

Until now, protests and demonstrations around the summit have passed off peacefully and without incident.

Time will tell if the events of the day have changed the ‘demo dynamic’.

Amidst it all, Glaswegians not forming part of the protest looked on with interest and at least some amusement at the events of the day.

One protester blocked by police was on stilts, dressed as a tree. From beyond the police line, one local enquired: “Who are you, Special Branch?”

Source: (Sky News)

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