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Cop26: Children risk their PARENTS getting fined by marching through Glasgow

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Up to 10,000 schoolchildren and their parents marched through Glasgow today in an extraordinary ‘Fridays For Future’ rally led by Greta Thunberg as they urged world leaders at COP26 to ‘act now’. 

Prince Charles has lent his support to the thousands of young protestors marching through the city, as parents took their children out of school to join the event which was being addressed by the Swedish activist.   

But Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has criticised young activists for travelling to the demonstration today – saying they should not be there in ‘school time’ and they faced handing their parents fines for truancy.

In England, a local authority can issue parents with a fine for a child’s non-attendance which is £60 but rises to £120 after 21 days but within 28 days. There is no right of appeal and the authority can prosecute if it is unpaid.

The situation is different in Scotland, where there are no automatic fines for parents who take children out of school without permission during term-time – although the education authority can hold a meeting with their parents regarding truancy and then choose to prosecute them through a sheriff court if it wishes.

Charles, who has long campaigned on green issues and been attending COP26 throughout this week, said he had been invited to join the demonstration, but it was ‘difficult’ for him to personally march with the protest.

The Prince expressed sympathy last night with the anger and frustration of the young activists in a speech addressing COP26 negotiators, telling delegates that the ‘weight of history’ was on their shoulders.

He added: ‘There’s a big march tomorrow, which some people have said I should join – that’s more difficult – but the point is, please don’t forget these people out there. Don’t forget that it’s their future.’ 

A group taking part in the Fridays For Future march is escorted by police through Glasgow this afternoon

A group taking part in the Fridays For Future march is escorted by police through Glasgow this afternoon

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as they walk throught the streets during COP26

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as they walk throught the streets during COP26

Greta Thunberg (centre) is aided by security personnel during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow today

Greta Thunberg (centre) is aided by security personnel during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow today

Demonstrators carry placards at a Fridays for Future march during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow today

Demonstrators carry placards at a Fridays for Future march during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow today

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future rally this afternoon

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future rally this afternoon

Demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow during the Cop26 summit this afternoon

Demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow during the Cop26 summit this afternoon

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future rally this afternoon

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future rally this afternoon

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow today as they campaign on issues surrounding climate change

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow today as they campaign on issues surrounding climate change

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joins thousands of young activists marching through Glasgow city centre this afternoon

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joins thousands of young activists marching through Glasgow city centre this afternoon

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as some hold banners as they walk through the streets

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as some hold banners as they walk through the streets

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow as COP26 focuses today on youth and public empowerment

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow as COP26 focuses today on youth and public empowerment

Thousands of young people attend a protest at COP26 as they march through Glasgow city centre this afternoon

Thousands of young people attend a protest at COP26 as they march through Glasgow city centre this afternoon

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the COP26 climate change summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the COP26 climate change summit continues

Greta Thunberg (centre) along with demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow today

Greta Thunberg (centre) along with demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow today

One girl dressed in school uniform at the protest in Glasgow told Sky News this afternoon: 'Our leaders have just failed us'

One girl dressed in school uniform at the protest in Glasgow told Sky News this afternoon: ‘Our leaders have just failed us’

Speaking yesterday at the Chief Negotiators Reception at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Charles said: ‘I’ve met people from all over the world in the last week and elsewhere when I go around the Commonwealth.

‘So many people are in a dire situation of such vulnerability with more and more people wanting to move as climate migrants, because they are now finding such scarce resources, such as drought.

‘Unless we respond to their cries for help, we will end up in a very, very difficult situation indeed with conflict and ever scarcer resources.

‘I remember speaking about this over 30 years ago in a lecture at Cambridge to the then Global Security unit, but nobody paid the slightest attention. I am begging you this time to pay attention to these people, because they matter.’

Pupils who took part in the demonstration today staged a strike from school during the march from Kelvingrove Park in the west of the city to George Square demanding climate justice and seeking to hold leaders to account. 

On what is COP26’s ‘Youth and Public Empowerment Day’, one parent Laura, McDonald, 34, took her daughters Erin and Ellie out of Hermitage Primary School to take them to the protest.

Prince Charles speaks at the Chief Negotiators Reception at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow yesterday

Prince Charles speaks at the Chief Negotiators Reception at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow yesterday

Climate activists gather in George Square, the end point for the Fridays For Future rally in Glasgow, this afternoon

Climate activists gather in George Square, the end point for the Fridays For Future rally in Glasgow, this afternoon

Security personnel help Greta Thunberg (centre) walk through the Fridays for Future Scotland march in Glasgow today

Security personnel help Greta Thunberg (centre) walk through the Fridays for Future Scotland march in Glasgow today

Friday for Future climate protestors take part in a demonstration as they march though the city centre of Glasgow today

Friday for Future climate protestors take part in a demonstration as they march though the city centre of Glasgow today

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the landmark COP26 conference continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the landmark COP26 conference continues

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends the Fridays for Future student march to demand action from leaders today

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends the Fridays for Future student march to demand action from leaders today

Police officers drive their motorcycles ahead of the Fridays for Future march during COP26 in Glasgow today

Police officers drive their motorcycles ahead of the Fridays for Future march during COP26 in Glasgow today

British climate activist Mikaela Loach speaks to the crowd in George Square at the end of the Fridays For Future rally today

British climate activist Mikaela Loach speaks to the crowd in George Square at the end of the Fridays For Future rally today

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 climate summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 climate summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as they march through the city's streets

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as they march through the city’s streets

Greta Thunberg (centre) joins demonstrators during the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon

Greta Thunberg (centre) joins demonstrators during the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon

Greta Thurnberg posted this picture of herself in Glasgow to her 13million Instagram followers shortly after 2pm today, saying: 'School strike week 167, in Glasgow outside the #COP26 ! #FridaysForFuture #UprootTheSystem #ClimateStrike'

Greta Thurnberg posted this picture of herself in Glasgow to her 13million Instagram followers shortly after 2pm today, saying: ‘School strike week 167, in Glasgow outside the #COP26 ! #FridaysForFuture #UprootTheSystem #ClimateStrike’

She said: ‘Thave been studying climate issues and are well aware of the challenges we all face.

‘They are aged 10 and eight and my older child is becoming more and more interested in climate change issued and I hope the youngest will follow more as she gets older.

‘I took them out of school today and the school didn’t appear to mind. It’s good to see so many hundreds of other schoolchildren here as well. It’s a very important day.’

One girl dressed in school uniform at the protest in Glasgow told Sky News today: ‘Well I feel that our leaders have just failed us.

‘Greta Thunberg has told them repeatedly and repeatedly, something needs to happen. I think Boris just sort of blathers on about… not saying very much…

‘He went on a private jet to a dinner in London with a climate sceptic and then came back.

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow this afternoon during the youth march at COP26

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow this afternoon during the youth march at COP26

Youth activists shout as they march to protest against climate change on the sidelines of the COP26 summit in Glasgow today

Youth activists shout as they march to protest against climate change on the sidelines of the COP26 summit in Glasgow today

Youth activists shout as they march to protest against climate inaction on the sidelines of the COP26 summit today

Youth activists shout as they march to protest against climate inaction on the sidelines of the COP26 summit today

Youth activists cheer on protesters marching against climate inaction make their way through Glasgow this afternoon

Youth activists cheer on protesters marching against climate inaction make their way through Glasgow this afternoon

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow this afternoon as the city hosts the COP26 summit

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow this afternoon as the city hosts the COP26 summit

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow today as they make their point to world leaders gathered in the city

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow today as they make their point to world leaders gathered in the city

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow today as the climate change conference continues

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow today as the climate change conference continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as young activists take to the city's streets

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as young activists take to the city’s streets

‘When he started talking about, you know oh, “it’s one minute to midnight, we need to make some kind of action”. He is just being a total hypocrite and we need to tell him that he’s wrong.’

She continued: ‘I feel young people have a lot of power and energy. I feel young people have a lot of new ideas and I feel like they have more hope.’

The girl, who was not named, was referring to reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew out of COP26 on a private jet to attend a dinner with former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, who wrote last month in the newspaper that the ‘climate emergency’ is ‘a speculation’. 

However, the girl’s claim that Mr Johnson then returned to COP26 following the dinner is untrue.

Miss Thunberg joined the event organised by Fridays for Future Scotland, a group of global activists founded by young people who had been inspired by Swedish teenager’s stance on climate change.

Striking council workers and protestors carrying Socialist Workers Party placards also staged protests.

Miss Thunberg was due to speak along with Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate and other youth campaigners from around the world, as well as local trade unionists.

Demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow during the Cop26 summit this afternoon

Demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow during the Cop26 summit this afternoon

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the climate change summit continues in the city

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the climate change summit continues in the city

Protesters march through Glasgow this afternoon as young activists join in with the Fridays For Future march

Protesters march through Glasgow this afternoon as young activists join in with the Fridays For Future march

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the first week of COP26 continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the first week of COP26 continues

Friday for Future climate protestors take part in a protest as they march though the city centre of Glasgow today

Friday for Future climate protestors take part in a protest as they march though the city centre of Glasgow today

Greta Thunberg (centre) joins demonstrators during the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon

Greta Thunberg (centre) joins demonstrators during the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future rally this afternoon

Thousands of young activists march through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future rally this afternoon

Demonstrators hold up signs at the Fridays for Future march through Glasgow during COP26 this afternoon

Demonstrators hold up signs at the Fridays for Future march through Glasgow during COP26 this afternoon

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as world leaders gather for COP26

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as world leaders gather for COP26

Anna Brown, an activist with Fridays for Future in Glasgow, said the event demonstrated a need to move climate discussions away from ‘enclosed’ spaces.

She said: ‘The message is that the system of COPs – we’ve had 26 now – that system isn’t working. So we need to uproot that system.

‘The message is you need to listen to the people in the streets, the young people, the workers.

‘We need to move it from being in an enclosed space where people can’t get involved to the streets, where people can see what’s happening and have a say.

‘I think part of it is designed so people don’t understand what it’s about – if people don’t understand what’s being said in negotiations, they can’t criticise what’s happening and the decisions that are being made.’

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends the Fridays for Future student march through Glasgow today

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends the Fridays for Future student march through Glasgow today

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues 

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a Fridays for Future march during the COP26 conference in Glasgow today

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a Fridays for Future march during the COP26 conference in Glasgow today

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

Patience Nabukalu, a climate activist from Uganda working with Fridays for Future MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas), said Cop26 was ignoring the people that mattered.

She said: ‘It’s like we didn’t attend. It’s like we are excluded, yet we are the most affected people.’

Ms Nabukalu claimed leaders at COP26 are ‘deciding for us’ instead, saying: ‘Many people in my country are suffering. Children are not going to school because of the crisis.

‘Climate change is real in my country. It’s one of the countries that are vulnerable to the climate crisis. People are flooded every day and we are having a lot of landslides in my country, we are experiencing a lot of impact of climate change.’

Asked if she feels the voice of the Global South is being listened to, she said: ‘Honestly, no. People in the Global south are the most affected people and areas. Yet we are not given ears to listen to our voices.’

Today’s protest is the first of two, with a second tomorrow set to attract more than 50,000 people.

A baby lies next to a sign during the Fridays for Future march during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow today

A baby lies next to a sign during the Fridays for Future march during the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow today

The Fridays For Future youth climate movement holds a march to George Square in the centre of Glasgow this afternoon

The Fridays For Future youth climate movement holds a march to George Square in the centre of Glasgow this afternoon

Activists with placards attend the Fridays for Future student march against climate change in Glasgow this afternoon

Activists with placards attend the Fridays for Future student march against climate change in Glasgow this afternoon

A demonstrator speaks as youth activists protest in the Fridays for Future march during the COP26 summit in Glasgow today

A demonstrator speaks as youth activists protest in the Fridays for Future march during the COP26 summit in Glasgow today

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joins thousands of young activists marching through Glasgow this afternoon

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joins thousands of young activists marching through Glasgow this afternoon

It comes after Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi criticised young climate protesters for travelling to Glasgow to demonstrate outside Cop26 today – saying they should not be there in ‘school time’.

The senior Cabinet minister warned them it was their own time they were wasting and warned they faced handing their parents fines for truancy if they attend the march that will feature a speech by Miss Thunberg.

Mr Zahawi said youth climate protesters should demonstrate at the weekend rather than during school hours.  

Asked on Times Radio whether he has been invited to join them, Mr Zahawi said: ‘No, I’m… I have to say, I wish they were doing it on a Saturday and a Sunday, not in school time.

‘I’d hate to get into a situation where headteachers and teachers are having to fine families and students.

‘We’ve got two weekends of COP here in Glasgow when they can have lawful demonstrations, and they should have those and have the right to do that, and I would happily engage with anyone who wants to come and tell me exactly what they think.’

A demonstrator joins the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

A demonstrator joins the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon as the COP26 summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the COP26 summit continues

Demonstrators join the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow today as the COP26 summit continues

Activists attend the Fridays for Future student march against climate change in Glasgow this afternoon

Activists attend the Fridays for Future student march against climate change in Glasgow this afternoon

Demonstrators at Kelvingrove Park, ahead of the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow this afternoon

Demonstrators at Kelvingrove Park, ahead of the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow this afternoon

Demonstrators holding banners attend the Fridays for Future march during COP26 in Glasgow today

Demonstrators holding banners attend the Fridays for Future march during COP26 in Glasgow today

Demonstrators at Kelvingrove Park, ahead of the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow this afternoon

Demonstrators at Kelvingrove Park, ahead of the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow this afternoon

Greta Thunberg (centre) joins demonstrators during the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon

Greta Thunberg (centre) joins demonstrators during the Fridays For Future march in Glasgow this afternoon

Local authorities have powers to fine parents if their children truant from school. Fines start at £60 but repeated offences can see them rise to £2,500, as well as possible jail terms of up to three months.

A group of mothers from around the world, including Rosamund Adoo Kissi Debrah, whose daughter Ella died from an asthma attack as a result of severe air pollution, will be handing in a letter at COP26 calling for an end to new fossil fuel financing for the sake of their children’s health and future.

They will then join the youth strikers marching through Glasgow.

Today’s protest comes ahead of marches tomorrow where tens of thousands of people are expected in Glasgow, with other marches in London and cities around the UK, as well as across the world.

The protests come at the end of the first week of the conference, where countries are under pressure to increase ambition on cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, to avoid the worst impacts of warming, and to ensure finance for poor countries to tackle the crisis.

Earlier in the week around 120 world leaders gathered at the COP26 summit to set out the action they were taking to tackle the climate crisis.

A separate Fridays for Future protest is also taking place through Westminster today at Whitehall and Parliament Square

A separate Fridays for Future protest is also taking place through Westminster today at Whitehall and Parliament Square

Youth climate protesters march through Westminster this afternoon on their Fridays for Future demonstration

Youth climate protesters march through Westminster this afternoon on their Fridays for Future demonstration

The Fridays for Future protest in Whitehall and Parliament Square has seen protesters gather outside Downing Street today

The Fridays for Future protest in Whitehall and Parliament Square has seen protesters gather outside Downing Street today

The Fridays for Future protest in Westminster today (pictured) is happening on the same day as the bigger march in Glasgow

The Fridays for Future protest in Westminster today (pictured) is happening on the same day as the bigger march in Glasgow 

The Fridays for Future protest in Whitehall today is seeing young people gather to hold a climate change demonstration

The Fridays for Future protest in Whitehall today is seeing young people gather to hold a climate change demonstration

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi criticised young climate protesters for travelling to Glasgow to demonstrate today

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi criticised young climate protesters for travelling to Glasgow to demonstrate today

The march today comes after Greta Thunberg (right) attended the New York Times 'Climate Hub', a forum for discussing 'actionable climate strategies', in Glasgow and spoke on a panel curated by Harry Potter star Emma Watson (left)

The march today comes after Greta Thunberg (right) attended the New York Times ‘Climate Hub’, a forum for discussing ‘actionable climate strategies’, in Glasgow and spoke on a panel curated by Harry Potter star Emma Watson (left)

There have also been announcements on curbing deforestation, phasing out coal and boosting finance flows towards transforming economies to be green.

But shadow business secretary Ed Miliband warned against ‘shifting the goalposts’ to focus on long-term targets and vague announcements in various sectors instead of on urgent action by countries to cut emissions to get the world on track to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.

In an event last night, US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry said the COP26 summit is a ‘critical’ event which he described as the world’s ‘last best hope to get us on course’.

Speaking at the CBI dinner, he called on developed countries to help less-developed countries in the fight against climate change and warned trillions were needed from private finance ‘because no government in the world has enough money’ to cope with climate change.

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