Pilgrims arrive in Glasgow to call for climate action after walking thousands of miles for Cop26

Extinction Rebellion says pilgrims have ‘spiritual duty of care’ to raise concerns over climate crisis

Conrad Duncan
Saturday 30 October 2021 13:38 BST
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Pilgrimage groups are set to march through Glasgow this weekend to call for more ambitious action on climate change ahead of the Cop26 conference.

Thousands of activists, including members of Extinction Rebellion Faith (XR), are heading to the Scottish city for a procession through the city centre on Saturday, where they will make their concerns known to world leaders who are set to meet for the UN convention.

The event has been described as the “opening ceremony” for a series of non-violent direct actions being planned in Glasgow, around the UK and the world for the event.

“Countries around the world are already suffering the consequences of our historic emissions in the west, and small island states like the Maldives will be submerged by rising seas if no immediate action is taken on the climate,” Yaz Ashmawi, from XR Pilgrim, said.

“As people of faith we have a spiritual duty of care to those who are less fortunate than us, so we have been using this walk to raise money for activists in financially disadvantaged countries that are already impacted, to empower them to join this conversation themselves.”

Pilgrimage groups have been walking thousands of miles to the city for the procession, which will start at 2pm on Saturday, with XR Scotland's “Blue Rebels” set to form a guard of honour for the pilgrims.

Those arriving in the city include Marcha Glasgow, a group of Spanish activists who took a ferry from Bilbao to Portsmouth to embark on a 30-day hike to Glasgow, and Young Christian Climate Network activists who have walked 1,200 miles from Cornwall.

“Cop26 must end a growing crime against humanity by wealthy governments where the global south are sacrificed to bear the brunt of the global north's affluent, carbon-intensive lifestyles,” XR Glasgow’s Alex Cochrane said.

“We welcome the pilgrims of faith – and no faith – who are walking to Cop26 to demand governments also walk the walk for the global south.”

The marches come one day before world leaders are set to meet in Glasgow for the conference, where wealthy countries are under pressure to increase their ambition for action to tackle the climate crisis.

Up to 30,000 people are expected to descend on the city over a two-week period, with some 7,000 police officers set to be deployed to help manage protests related to the conference.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, Scotland's most senior police officer, said this week that his force would respond “swiftly and robustly” to protesters who try to disrupt the summit.

Additional reporting by PA

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