COP26 - ACC Ritchie looks ahead to planned protests this weekend
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie, Police Scotland, looks ahead to COP26’s biggest planned protests this weekend.
He said: “Over the next couple of days we will see the biggest marches of COP26 with thousands of protesters converging on Glasgow on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th November. Glasgow will be busier than usual on these days, on our roads, on public transport and on the streets.
“We have been working very closely with organisers of tomorrow’s youth march and are very encouraged by the high level of engagement to help deliver a safe event.
“This will be a family event focusing on young people and the future of our planet. We are really looking forward to our continued engagement with organisers to make sure young people get their opportunity to be heard in what is an amazing event with the eyes of the world on us all.
“Tomorrow and Saturday you will see an increased police presence in Glasgow but please don’t be worried. Officers are there to maintain the safety of the public and participants, as well as 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.
“Our Police Liaison Officers will be deployed over the weekend, they will be wearing light blue police vests. They act as a link between event organisers and the police. Their aim is to make sure that participants can exercise their democratic right to demonstrate while helping to ensure the policing response is proportionate.
“Other specialist officers will be deployed for these events as will officers from other police services from around the UK who have come to Glasgow to provide assistance. So you’ll likely see officers in uniforms which are slightly different to those worn by Police Scotland.
“We have engaged with key campaign groups to ensure these protests can take place safety and with as little disruption as possible. However, we have made clear that should violent disorder or damage to property occur, those involved will be dealt with swiftly and robustly.
“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.
“Whether you are attending the marches or are travelling to Glasgow for another reason, plan your journey in advance. Please prepare for delays and potential changes required at short notice for operational purposes.
“Remember, we’re here to support your rights, help your voice be heard and to keep everybody safe.”