Police Intimidation at COP26
Saturday saw one of the largest ever marches heave through Glasgow with over 100,000 taking part. The event went off without incident, apart from the police kettling a small group of the Young Communist League and holding up the entire march for some time.
The police conduct seems to have been pre-meditated as this marcher explains:
Police at COP march targeting young communist league and isolating them from other marchers #cop26 #COP26Glasgow #cop26march #FeministClimateJustice #letthemmarch #ourstreets #police #PoliceBrutality #ClimateCriminals #activistmothers pic.twitter.com/AgDmDPK8Mh
— FBRG (@BlacknGreenPhD) November 6, 2021
Bella has been contacted with eyewitness accounts which contradict the police statement of the events.
The person, who wishes to remain anonymous told us: “I was in there. I’m not affiliated with the YCL, but I was marching with them on Saturday. Here are some videos from inside the kettle. Someone looks into the camera in one of them so I blocked out their face. We had been surrounded by the police from the very start back in Kelvingrove Park. When asked, the police didn’t give any reason as to why they were escorting us. Once we got to the intersection of Holland street, they suddenly closed in and wouldn’t let us march. Then they started pushing us together and trying to get us to move up Holland street. The image you see on this post is from Holland street where they kept us for almost two hours, they made sure we would miss the rest of the event. When they finally let us leave we had to walk through a tunnel of police and they had cameras to try and get our faces. Apparently the police continued to follow the group all the way down to Glasgow Green. The whole experience was terrifying, especially in the beginning when no one knew what was going on and they just kept pushing us together. At one point we were surrounded by three rows of police. They don’t tell you anything. I guess being a communist makes you a criminal.”
We need answers as to why these people were intimidated in such a way on a peaceful march. Who made the decision, who was the watch commander on the day, and where the officers are from?
Why is there no accountability for the police? Why are our political leaders silent?
Another eyewitness said: “Was just behind the kettling and it caused chaos in the march and could’ve led to a crush, which is pretty shocking given the number of children and old people around me. Also talked to a woman who was assaulted by a police officer and several others who said they were told by liason officers that they were being kettled due to touching people inappropriately before they moved on when questioned, an allegation that was never followed up on and seemed to be a lie to turn the crowd against them. The police also lied about the incident saying the YCL caused the holdup which wasn’t true as this was planned by the police beforehand (why would a group wanting to hold up a meeting stop at a convenient intersection they can pushed aside??) and they initiated the violence as photos show.”
“I knew several people who asked why the group was kettled and instead of an answer they were arrested of threatened with arrest. I’m so shocked at how many people are overlooking blatant criminal behaviour by the police that could’ve lead to injury or death.”
“I forgot that the creepiest part is that they were only allowed out of the kettle, which again was illegally done, if they submitted to having their faces photographed and details taken. This was a blatant attempt to gather intel on a political group that’s embarrassed the state previously. This is especially gross given what we learned about the secret police during the spy cops trials.”
The police have also been criticised for a raid on Baile Hoose, a recently occupied space for activists with nowhere to stay. The Guardian reported (‘Police criticised over raid on Glasgow squat housing Cop26 activists‘): “The occupants of a disused building in Glasgow that was reopened to offer emergency accommodation for climate activists have accused police of trying to break into the site with a battering ram early on Monday morning.
The activists at Baile Hoose, a former homeless shelter in the Tradeston district, said up to 20 officers from the Metropolitan police and Welsh forces mounted the raid at 3am, claiming to be acting under orders from Scottish police. The activists said Police Scotland officers arrived soon afterwards and “calmed the situation. [It] was only then that the Met and Welsh police backed off.”
“One witness to the raid said at least one of the liaison officers from Police Scotland appeared to be shocked at their colleagues’ conduct, and also said that an officer described it as “totally unacceptable” policing. Another activist said police had their batons drawn as they entered rooms, to the distress of many occupants.”
The police have questions to answer about who is in operational control in Glasgow and why peaceful climate activists are being intimidated and criminalised?
Help to support independent Scottish journalism by subscribing or donating today.