COP26: Arrests made as Extinction Rebellion block roads and protest outside Glasgow banks

ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith witnessed the skirmishes between police and environmental protestors on the third day of the COP26 summit in Glasgow


Five people have been arrested after hundreds of protestors descended on Glasgow as part of another day of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations around the COP26 climate summit.

ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith witnessed skirmishes between police and environmental protestors on the third day of the conference which resulted in the arrests.

One man appeared to spray green paint towards police officers before he was handcuffed and led away.

Police Scotland confirmed on Wednesday evening that five arrests had been made, after a number of officers were sprayed with paint. Cans of spray paint were also seized.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “Assaults on officers, who put their safety at risk every day to keep the public safe and have adopted a facilitative and rights-based approach to protest, is totally unacceptable.”

Many of the protesters congregated around the Glasgow branch of JP Morgan with demonstrators holding banners calling the company the "world's dirtiest bank".

Traffic was stopped in several streets as demonstrators made their way through the city.

ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith said protesters were also seen attempting to spray paint on the SSE building in Glasgow.

Robb Callender, a protester from London, said police were being “quite aggressive” towards those on the march.

He said SSE were “talking a big talk but doing nothing” on the climate.

Earlier, activists campaigning against the Cambo oil field staged a mock ceremony featuring “the Queen” turning off the taps to the oil pipeline.

Various climate activist groups have been protesting outside the summit since it began on Sunday.

Demonstrators have called on governments to move faster and make stronger commitments to prevent climate change.

World leaders have made pledges so far when it comes to making real change, but many say they have fallen far short of what is required.

Top officials, including prime minister Boris Johnson, have made gloomy statements over the prospect of keeping the dream of limiting global warming to 1.5C alive.

The COP26 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP26? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP26:

  • US President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry, climate adviser and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and 10 other US cabinet officials.

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In the days leading up to COP26, Mr Morrison committed Australia to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are also attending. The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are among the leaders that have decided not to travel to Glasgow.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - Countries are being encouraged to set ambitious 2030 emissions targets. They are also encouraged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, clamp down on deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

2. Protect natural habitats and communities from climate change disasters

3. Finances for a greener future - In 2009, developed countries were asked to keep to their promises to contribute at least $100 billion (£72.5 billion) per year by 2020 to protect the planet. In 2015, it was agreed that the goal would be extended to 2025.

However, new analysis shows the goal is unlikely to have been met last year and is on track to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

4. Getting all countries and organisations to work together to tackle the climate crisis

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Prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg has also been taking part in protests in Glasgow.

Extinction Rebellion held a similar protest outside the main conference on Tuesday.