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Cop26 protesters urge Sturgeon to act over ‘intimidating’ policing | Cop26

Climate campaigners attending the Cop26 summit are urging Nicola Sturgeon to intervene in what they describe as intimidating and heavy-handed policing of protests in Glasgow.

The open letter from the Cop26 Coalition, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the Climate Coalition calls on the primary minister to be sure that the best to protest is upheld prematurely of Friday and Saturday’s mass marches, after activists reported “numerous incidents of abuse of powers and intimidating tactics” by the ten,000 officers from forces throughout the UK who’ve been deployed each day.

The signatories spotlight “the disproportionately high number of officers deployed, combined with intrusive police surveillance” which has created “an atmosphere of fear and intimidation” and “unacceptable chilling effect on the right to protest”.

The Guardian has heard first-hand accounts from activists of being threatened with arrest for unfurling a banner at a prepare station, refused a written receipt after a cease and search and prevented from becoming a member of an assembled protest as a result of they have been turned again at a police cordon.

These reviews stand in stark distinction to Police Scotland’s pledge earlier than the convention of a “human rights-based approach” to policing of protest that might be “welcoming, friendly and proportionate”.

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An Extinction Rebellion activist wearing a clown’s nose stands next to police officers during a protest as the UN Climate Change Conference (Cop26) takes place.
An Extinction Rebellion activist carrying a clown’s nostril stands subsequent to law enforcement officials throughout a protest because the UN Climate Change Conference (Cop26) takes place. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Campaigners have been significantly alarmed by way of the tactic of kettling – corralling protesters for a prolonged time frame – at Wednesday’s Extinction Rebellion march by town centre. Activists reported being refused entry to water, bathroom amenities and medicine through the kettle.

Police Scotland insisted that protesters have been “contained for a short period” and this was “necessary in order to maintain public safety”, including it was “extremely disappointing that officers were assaulted by having paint sprayed in their faces”.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland have since printed a video which they are saying exhibits an activist making an attempt to use spraypaint on a constructing and being tackled by officers, who then arrested him for assault.

There are vital issues that the “saturation policing” seen on the streets of Glasgow up to now this week could have a chilling impact on participation on the Fridays for Future faculty strike on Friday and the Global Day of Action on Saturday, when up to 100,000 persons are anticipated to take to march by town. Many of them will likely be first-time marchers and will not be acquainted with the English language or Scots legislation.

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Campaigners argue that these ways even have a detrimental influence on the group as an entire – on Tuesday Police Scotland apologised to girls in Glasgow who had to stroll house in darkness on Monday evening after well-lit streets have been blocked off due to summit safety issues.

Assistant chief constable Gary Ritchie stated: “Police Scotland is a rights-based organisation that puts our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights at the heart of everything we do. This means that we will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter-protest at Cop26, balanced against the rights of the wider community.”

He added that “containment” was a “permitted policing tactic where a breach of the peace is taking place or reasonably thought to be imminent”.

A Scottish authorities spokesperson stated: “The Scottish government is fully supportive of the right to protest in a peaceful and lawful manner, and welcomes all contributions on how, together, we tackle the climate emergency. Police Scotland has engaged with a wide range of activist groups in advance of the conference in order to facilitate and support their right to peaceful protest.”

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