Glasgow

COP26 – ACC Ritchie looks at the weekends protests

todayNovember 5, 2021 12

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Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie, Police Scotland, looks ahead to COP26’s biggest planned protests this weekend and reflects on today’s youth march.

ACC Gary Ritchie said: “Thousands of young people took to the streets of Glasgow today in a spectacular event claiming their right to be heard in discussions on the future of the planet.

It was hugely inspiring to see children of all ages getting involved and expressing their commitment to tackling climate change and protecting their future.

This was a really important day in the COP26 schedule and we were pleased to be part of such a memorable event for these young participants and for Glasgow. Our officers enjoyed engaging with young people, many have children of their own who were taking part in today’s march.

IMAGE : @GretaThunberg on Twitter

“Policing of this event was, as promised, proportionate, as has been our overall approach throughout COP26. Our officers stayed in the background but were there to support young people and be on hand if needed to ensure their safety.

“Today’s success is largely down to the high level of engagement between the protest organisers and Police Scotland.

“Over the course of the climate change conference our officers, including our mutual aid colleagues, have deployed and engaged with protesters on more than 300 occasions. Until now there have been fewer than 20 arrests made, most for disorder type offences, and this demonstrates the positive engagement between police officers and protesters and the facilitative policing approach to peaceful protest. We would not have been able to achieve this without the assistance, hard work and commitment of our mutual aid colleagues in supporting the policing of this significant global event.

“Tomorrow we will be supporting the climate change march which is expected to draw many thousands of participants. We will be there to maintain the safety of the public and participants and to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or to counter-protest. These rights are always balanced against the rights of the wider community.

“There will be an increased police presence in Glasgow tomorrow and roads, public transport and the streets will be significantly busier than would normally be expected in the city on a Saturday.

“Whether you are attending the marches or are travelling to Glasgow for another reason, please plan your journey in advance and prepare for delays and potential changes required at short notice for operational reasons. “If you’re going to a march, please act responsibly, be respectful in your actions and follow the route and instructions given to you by event organisers or police officers.

“Our Police Liaison Officers, wearing light blue police vests, are becoming a common sight across the city. Their role is to make sure that participants can exercise their democratic right to demonstrate while helping to ensure the policing response is proportionate. People taking part in protest are encouraged to speak with these officers, especially if they have any welfare or safety issues.

“Remember, we’re here to support your rights, help your voice be heard and to keep everybody safe.”

Written by: George Icke - Reporter

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