Scots student claims he was retained by police at COP26 for four hours

Thomas O. Cornwallis went along with a friend to view the Extinction Rebellion protest being held on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old claims that shortly after the protest started police moved in to “kettle” the protestors – and allegedly took a portion of the viewing public with them.

Thomas ended up being caught in amongst the crowds and said that police officers refused to let anybody leave for over four hours.

He claims that people were presumably urinating in the street as they were not allowed to leave the police containment to go to the toilet.

Speaking today the Urban Planning student said: “It became clear quite quickly that we weren’t going to be moving anytime soon.

“It didn’t seem like an issue at first, from what was being said between folk we were expecting to be moved onto somewhere else, like George Square.”

“It became more of a worry that this was going to be a long situation when police refused people’s requests to go to the toilet or to go home for medication.

“We were on St.Vincent Street for over two hours before we were kettled into a march to COP26 slowly.

“presumably people were peeing where they could, when we got to the bridge I asked where I could go to the toilet and was told I couldn’t go.

“The police were extremely heavy handed and lacked information.

“Forcing people to march two kilometres was not permissible duty of care, especially after holding people for two hours in the city centre.”

Protestors were presumably not already allowed to leave to go to the toilet.                                           (C) Thomas Cornwallis

Thomas posted updates during the “kettling” on Twitter and was overwhelmed with messages of sustain from social media users.

One tweet read: “I was in town with a friend, planning to go to #COP26 border events, and before we knew it, what we wanted to stand and watch for a bit, became our life for next four hrs as police kettled us!”

Twitter user @schal__ responded: “Very upsetting scenes today and something every citizen in the country should be both angry and extremely worried about.”

@h0ppy_ wrote: “The best part about all this is the chief of police or someone came on the radio denied that his little piglets used any of these tactics.”

@jonbradyphoto additional: “What on earth is going on with this police operation in Glasgow?

@gazzabiker said: “Pee up a policeman’s leg.

“They’ll soon take you out of there.”

Urban planning student Thomas O. Cornwallis.                                                                                (C) Thomas Cornwallis

A Police Scotland spokesperson today said: “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 method 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.

“Our approach during COP26 will continue to be proportionate and responsive to sustain the delivery of a safe and obtain event.

“In order to continue public safety and minimise disruption during an current protest, Police Scotland officers may use a containment, which is a permitted policing tactic where a breach of the peace is taking place or reasonably thought to be imminent.”

They additional: “During any public order containment, Containment Liaison Officers will clarify those with vulnerabilities or anyone not involved in the protest, and will remove them from any group to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.

“Containment as a tactic is used only if necessary by highly trained officers.

“While we are aware of the term ‘kettling’, it does not precisely mirror the tactic of containment.”

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