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Protestors in Dublin. Leah Farrell
Climate change protests

Huge crowds of protesters take to the streets to call for climate action

Marches have taken place in Dublin, Belfast and Glasgow and locations across the globe.

THOUSANDS OF ACTIVISTS have taken part in climate protests across the island of Ireland, Glasgow and locations across the world.

Dublin and Belfast witnessed two of the largest demonstrations, while events were staged in a variety of other towns and cities including Cork and Derry.

Katie Harrington was among the crowds who gathered at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin for a march through the city to Government Buildings.

“For me it’s extremely important that we use our voices,” said the Dublin woman.

“I’m not here for myself, I’m here for future generations. We need our government to actually act on climate change and the climate crisis, not just keep talking and not just keep making plans.

“It’s really important for us to use our voices and march on these streets so we’re heard.”

Among those to address a rally at Belfast City Hall was acclaimed teenage author and naturalist from Co Fermanagh Dara McAnulty.

“We are at a junction as a species and there are two paths in front of us,” he told the crowds.

“One – we change our future, we make a difference, we go on the road to restorative justice and climate action.

“Or we can go down the path of further destruction and inevitably the demise of our species.”

people-take-part-in-a-climate-change-protest-in-belfast-picture-date-saturday-november-6-2021-picture-date-saturday-november-6-2021 Protestors on the streets of Belfast. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The events on the island were part of a global day of action aimed at increasing pressure on world leaders attending the Cop26 conference on climate change in Glasgow.

Catherine O’Rourke from Liverpool was in Dublin to visit her daughter. She said she felt compelled to come down and join in the protest.

“I am very concerned about the future for my grandchildren and my great grandchildren and we’ve got to make a difference,” she said.

“We can’t just hope for it, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to make our governments wake up before it’s too late. It’s already nearly too late. I had to come – I’d no choice.”

Susan Rossney from Dublin credited the Irish government with making “good progress” on climate action.

But she added: “It still bears repeating every day and in every possible format that everyone has to take action on the climate crisis.

“It’s for us now, it’s for the entire world and it’s so unjust that so much pollution is being created by the developed world and the developing world is bearing the brunt of this.”

CLIMATE PROTEST DUBLIN 8L5A9172 (1) Protestors in Dublin.

Daithi McKay, the vice chair of the NI Climate Coalition, helped organise the event in Belfast.

“We’ve heard a lot of promises, we’ve heard a lot of pledges,” he said of Cop26.

“But we need much more than that – we need immediate action.”

Chloe Ferguson, the chair of Queen’s University Students’ Union Climate Action Group, said street protests could have a “massive impact”.

“When we look at what politicians and what our leaders respond to, they listen to what’s going to cause them the most bother publicly,” she said.

Meanwhile in Glasgow and other UK cities tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the UK demanding stronger climate action from leaders in the midst of the Cop26 talks.

Protesters braved pouring rain and wind to march through Glasgow, where the UN climate conference is being held, while other marches are taking place in central London and in other cities around the UK and the world.

Environmental groups, charities, climate activists, trade unionists and  indigenous people all joined the march in Glasgow.

A fire engine, women covered in moss, Poseidon on stilts and a group of children guiding a display featuring what appeared to be a large snake wearing glasses, were among those who gathered at the starting point at Kelvingrove Park.

Jason Cook, 54, from Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, said he and two friends were marching because they were tired of hearing “blah, blah, blah” from leaders on climate action, echoing the criticism of Cop26 and world leaders by campaigner Greta Thunberg.

He told the PA news agency: “We don’t want to hear any more blah, blah, blah.”

The three men wore helmets, each adorned with a sign which said “blah”.

protesters-take-part-in-a-rally-organised-by-the-cop26-coalition-in-glasgow-demanding-global-climate-justice-picture-date-saturday-november-6-2021 Protestors on the streets of Glasgow. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

As the march entered Glasgow city centre a group of activists dressed as rats stood across the road holding smoke flares.

The group, who were acting as though they represented various sectors, were holding signs which, collectively, said: “When Cop fails, buy walls, buy guns, buy bombs.

“Bye bye climate migrants – profit over planet.”

Extinction Rebellion activists dressed as the Ghostbusters, along with a man wearing a sign that said “the end is nigh” were among the marchers making their way to Glasgow Green.

Hundreds of people lined the streets in support, some holding home-made signs.

Police refused to estimate how many people were marching, but organisers the Cop26 Coalition claimed more than 100,000 people had turned out despite the weather, as an estimated 300 events were taking place worldwide.

Asad Rehman, spokesman for the Cop26 Coalition, said: “Many thousands of people took to the streets today on every continent demanding that governments move from climate inaction to climate justice.

“We won’t tolerate warm words and long-term targets any more, we want action now.”

In London, thousands of protesters gathered at the Bank of England for the start of a march through the city, banging steel drums, chanting “one solution” and waving Extinction Rebellion banners reading “tell the truth”, before marching to Trafalgar Square.

The latest demonstrations come midway through the Cop26 summit, which has seen world leaders gather to set out the action they are taking and commit to curb deforestation, phase out coal, end funding for fossil fuels abroad and cut methane emissions.

But there is still a significant gap between the measures countries have committed to and what is needed to avoid more than 1.5C of warming, beyond which the worst floods, droughts, storms and rising seas of climate change will be felt.

Countries are under pressure to agree a process to increase ambition in the next decade, as well as deliver finance for developing countries to cope with the crisis and finalise the last parts of how the global Paris Agreement on climate change will work.

With reporting from the Niall O’Connor and Orla Dwyer in Glasgow.

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