Climate activists cross ‘Squinty Bridge’ while COP26 protests continue

Residents were forced to take an hour-long detour in the dark or take a train after a block in Glasgow was locked down.

Pedestrians were to have access to Argyle Street and Dumbarton Road in Finnieston, even though the roads were closed to cars.

But as the police presence grew to the exclusive COP26 dinner at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum of World Leaders and Royals, residents on foot began to be turned away.

Residents told STV News that they had not received any advance notice of a “short notice” change to the rules.

The Ged Ready Glasgow website said pedestrian access would be maintained everywhere so these blind people and carers were not even allowed to cross to reach vulnerable residents when showing their Cordia [identification] badge, ”KayIeigh Quinn told STV News.

STV News

“Just another example of the council failing its own citizens during the COP while drinking and eating world leaders at a publicly owned museum they have closed to taxpayers.”

As US Presidential Special Envoy John Kerry got stuck on one side of the barrier, people who could see their homes just meters away were told to walk through Kelvingrove Park and down Byres Road to Partick to get therefor.

One resident described Kelvingrove Park as “bulging black,” and while she was facing walking alone in the dark for an hour, another woman walked to Anderston station and took a train to the Exhibition Center.

Others described being left in tears at the prospect of having to travel through a very dark, unlit city park despite being only 100 meters from their front doors.

The Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she “had concerns” over any proposal that women’s safety had been compromised, but praised the police in general for their work during the conference.

“I do not know the details of what I have seen reports on this morning. I will definitely talk to the police about the circumstances of that,” she said after an event at COP26.

“It will not surprise you to hear that I would be concerned about any suggestion that women were put in what even they would feel was a situation where they were not safe.

“For obvious and understandable reasons, there was a significant security operation around Kelvingrove last night.

“I think the police are doing a fantastic job here, so I am not critical of them in any way, but the safety of women at all times, especially in the light of recent concerns, is paramount.

“If there is any perception at all that women were put in a position where they were not safe, I know the police would make sure it was not something that happened again.”

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative MSP, said: “My heart goes out to the women who have expressed their distress over feeling insecure about going home at night.

“Women’s safety can under no circumstances be compromised. It is completely unacceptable for people to feel scared because they are being forced to go through potentially dangerous routes in the coal darkness.

“I urge Police Scotland and the local council to act immediately so that no one is forced down poorly lit paths where they fear for their safety.”

Businesses were also hit.

Roast cafe closed due to restrictions on Argyle Street.

The 78 Bar and Kitchen wrote on social media saying the best route to their premises on Kelvinhaugh Street was via Partick.

Police in Scotland said: “We are aware of a few concerns raised with people trying to gain access to their homes. Escort officers were on the ground to help people. We thank the locals for their understanding.”

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie has since apologized “for the concern these changes caused and for the inconvenience of the redirected”.

He said: “We especially recognize and acknowledge the comment from some women who had to walk through the park on their own last night, we want to keep everyone safe and we know it is our responsibility to recognize when we could give something more support and visibility to reassure people in our communities. “

ACC Ritchie said there are no plans to reintroduce the diversion, but that if further disruption is required at short notice, then Police Scotland will try to set up additional patrols to “provide security”.

He also said the force will work with Glasgow City Council to see if the lighting in Kelvingrove Park can be improved.

The Glasgow City Council website says residents would enter the homes despite road closures.

A spokeswoman said: “We have worked very hard to let people know about the restrictions that are in place for the climate conference so that they can plan ahead and circumvent security measures.

“For operational reasons on the spot, Police Scotland changed the diversions at short notice last night (Monday 1 November) and led members of the public through Kelvingrove Park. Scotland Police have apologized for the concern and inconvenience caused by these changes at the last minute.

“We had identified an alternative route on the back of the original restrictions via the park to reduce the impact on the public. Four additional light rigs had been installed. We understand that members of the public may have taken other routes that we could not have foreseen. .

“We do everything we can to ensure that residents and businesses are notified of restrictions in good time. Every time we are notified of changes, they are posted on social media as they were last night. The Get Ready Glasgow website is also updated regularly. “

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