You would be forgiven for mistaking the vibrant scenes in Glasgow yesterday for a pleasant summer street party.

As the sun beat down on the city centre, a jovial group danced arm-in-arm in the middle of the road, while playground games decorated the pavement in coloured chalk and youngsters listened intently to stories read from picture books.

But the gathering – the centrepiece of which was a 25ft-long boat emblazoned with “the future you fear is already here” on one side, and “act now” on the other – was more sobering than its party atmosphere suggested.

The peaceful demonstration was the latest in a series of UK-wide demonstrations by climate change campaigners Extinction Rebellion.

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Four other boats were “docked” on streets in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and London as part of five planned protests.

Activists said they were staging a series of “creative acts of civil disobedience”, blocking specific locations, bridges and roads as well as holding talks, workshops, people’s assemblies and family-friendly activities.

Extinction Rebellion declared that protesters were there “to demand the legal system take responsibility in this crisis, and ensure the safety of future generations by making ecocide law”.

“We also stand in solidarity with climate activists around the world who are sacrificing their freedom to fight for climate justice,” it added.

The Glasgow protest, which closed Trongate at the intersection of Gallowgate and High Street, focused on the issue of climate refugees.

The purple boat, stationed outside the Merchant City clock tower, was named Amal Gous after the Sudanese tea seller murdered during the recent authorities’ violent dispersal of the sit-in in front of the army general command in the Sudanese capital last month.

Speakers talked about the Serco evictions, the UK’s “hostile” environment policy and how droughts, food shortages, and extreme weather affecting indigenous communities around the world.

Youngsters, nicknamed “Wee Rebellion”, dressed in red, played symbolic street games like ‘Olly Olly Octopus’ and ‘What’s the time, Mother Earth?’ Extinction Rebellion Scotland campaigner, Daniel Armstrong, said that he and others welcomed refugees to the city of Glasgow.

“As the climate continues to break down, more and more parts of the world will become uninhabitable. Immigration is already seen as a big issue, but it will only increase as more people are displaced,” he said.

“But if you’re faced with unlivable conditions due to extreme weather, food shortages and drought, you have no choice but to leave.

“From the perspective of my hometown Glasgow, where refugees are welcomed, we stand in solidarity with those affected not just by climate chaos but also those displaced by this global crisis.”

One demonstrator, who travelled from Oban to attend the protest, said: “It’s important to bring awareness about climate catastrophe. I’m afraid I have to use that word, it is a catastrophe.

“If we start now, we might be able to do something. If we leave it another 10 years, forget it.”

READ MORE: Extinction Rebellion campaigners blockade Glasgow road

Elsewhere in the UK, protesters targeted Leeds’ financial district to draw attention to the links between banking and the climate and ecological emergency.

Meanwhile, a blue boat was placed in front of the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, while protesters practised yoga and meditation in the middle of the road.

The latest moves came after Extinction Rebellion staged an 11-day protest in April that brought several parts of London to a standstill.

Some of the 1,000 people arrested during that protest appeared in court this week.

In Wales, a large green boat was stationed outside Cardiff Castle as activists held banners reading “Act Now” and “Climate Emergency”.

Tents were also set up on grass in front of Cardiff City Hall, the home of the Welsh capital’s local government, as campaigners looked set to camp there. Extinction Rebellion have welcomed both the Scottish and British governments.

However, they insist that further action is still needed.

The group is calling on the UK Government to halt wildlife losses and cut greenhouse gases to net zero by 2025.

A leaflet handed out by campaigners called on the UK Government to create a “national assembly” to implement climate change solutions.

The Welsh Government was the first in the UK to declare a climate change emergency earlier this year, before similar declarations by the Scottish Government and MPs in the House of Commons.

“People are dying right now of climate chaos in places like India. It’s only going to get worse,” Extinction Rebellion’s Stephen Lingwood said.

“We’re at the beginning of the sixth mass extinction and a climate genocide and the Government’s inaction is, in my view, criminally irresponsible.”