Fuelling war: COP26 protesters target UK arms industry
Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists in Glasgow marched on arms manufacturer BAE systems on Thursday to raise awareness of links between war and climate change.
The “march for peace” started at the Home Office building in Cessnock, Glasgow, where protesters assembled for speeches, before heading towards a police-guarded shipyard belonging to BAE Systems.
Before setting off, Lynn Jamieson, of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) Scotland, told crowds: “the whole industry of nuclear weapons has caused so much harm in the global south as well as the global north.
“UK nuclear weapons were tested on the back door of indigenous people in Australia”, she added.
Speaking at the gates of the BAE Systems boatyard, Douglas Renshaw of XR Glasgow said: “Our governments have allowed spending on arms to outstrip spending on climate solutions", adding that “Climate chaos will increase the risk of conflict, social instability and fighting over resources... [creating] conflict while arms companies and their shareholders benefit.”
Earlier in the year, XR teamed up with Palestine Action to blockade an Israeli arms factory in the north of England after the UK government handed the weapons maker a multi-million-pound contract.
Demonstrations around COP26 have grown steadily over the course of the week, as climate campaigners have criticised government efforts to combat climate change. Climate activist Greta Thunberg has labelled the conference “a Global north greenwash festival”, tweeting yesterday that COP26 is “a two week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah.”
On Wednesday, police arrested five Extinction Rebellion activists after demonstrators broke into the building of energy firm SSE. Elsewhere, campaigners dressed as Pokemon character Pikachu gathered outside the COP26 Conference to protest against Japan’s continued reliance on coal energy.
On Saturday, a demonstration organised by the COP26 Coalition is expected to draw tens of thousands, on what organisers have described as a “Global Day of Action for Climate Justice”.