Police at Cop26 seize inflatable 'Loch Ness Debt Monster'

Campaigners highlight the growing threat of climate-debt burden for lower income countries

Anti-poverty campaigners had planned to float the inflatable down the River Clyde as Cop26 took place. PA
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Police in Scotland have seized an inflatable Loch Ness monster that anti-poverty campaigners had planned to float down a Glasgow river as Cop26 took place.

Jubilee Debt Campaign said the "Loch Ness Debt Monster" represented the growing threat of climate-debt burdens for low-income countries.

“The debt crisis facing lower-income countries has been excluded from debate at Cop26 and now police have prevented the Loch Ness Debt Monster from highlighting this fundamental issue,” said Eva Watkinson of the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

“Lower-income countries’ unsustainable debt is preventing them from fighting the climate crisis. And when climate disasters hit, countries are pushed into further debt to pay for reconstruction.

“Rich, polluting countries created the climate crisis and should take responsibility by cancelling the debts of countries that need it and ensuring climate finance is given in grants, not more loans.”

On Wednesday campaigners held signs that read “drop the debt monster” and “climate justice now” as finance ministers met in Glasgow.

“Officers seized a large inflatable due to be launched on the River Clyde as it breached the maritime restrictions in place to maintain public safety and security close to the Cop26 venue,” said police.

In a separate protest on Wednesday, police said they made two arrests after several officers were assaulted when they were sprayed with paint in Glasgow city centre.

"We will provide a proportionate policing response to any protest and violence will not be tolerated. Assaults on officers, who put their safety at risk every day to keep the public safe and have adopted a facilitative and rights-based approach to protest, is totally unacceptable," said Gary Ritchie of Police Scotland.

"The protests have caused some delay with travel through the city centre and officers remain on scene."

A series of protests have already taken place during Cop26, which began on Sunday, but demonstrations expected to escalate at the weekend.

As many as 100,000 people are expected to descend on Glasgow for a variety of protests.

Some 50,000 people will march through the city on Saturday as part of a Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, with similar rallies planned across the UK. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg will take part in a youth-led walk on Friday, with 8,000 people set to take part.

Road closures, traffic disruption, security concerns and long waits for delegates trying to gain entry have marked the first few days of the climate conference.

Updated: November 03, 2021, 4:04 PM