CLIMATE EMERGENCY ROAD BLOCK
April 16, 2019
|Extinction Rebellion Scotland successfully blocked North Bridge, Edinburgh from 3pm – 8.30pm today in CLIMATE EMERGENCY ROAD BLOCK which resulted in 29 arrests|
|– Over 700 people attended the road block |
– A cycle block from 5 points across the city converged on North Bridge at 3pm
– 29 people were arrested
– Today’s roadblock was in conjunction with London’s roadblocks which have resulted in over 200 arrests
|This afternoon from 3pm til 8.30pm over 700 activists blocked North Bridge, Edinburgh at both ends causing widespread disruption across the city. At least half of this number were members of the public. |
In between the two roadblocks, we held a large and safe rebellion – with speakers, music, food and performance. This rebellion was an opportunity for people to make their voices heard, but it’s also a chance to get together and celebrate our love for all life on earth. This is an opportunity to learn from one another and explore how we can build a beautiful and resilient future for everyone.
Smaller groups of activists caused further disruption by blocking junctions using a technique called ‘swarming’, which consists of entering the road with banners and blocking it for a short period of time. This resulted in the arrest of a small number of activists.
Marco Tenconi, 22 commented “Today was a perfect example of why we need to take direct action. People were literally taking flyers out of my hands as they watched hundred of brave activists occupy key junctions in Edinburgh. We’re building a movement based on a model of mass civil disobedience which can allow anyone to make a difference and feel empowered. Our situation is desperately urgent, if we don’t take radical action to change how we organise our societies and economies we face a grim future of devastating climatic change and ecological collapse. Averting this crisis is only possible if we mobilise people on mass to take a stand — that’s what we did today, this is only the beginning.”
Following some activists swarming onto Princes St and blocking the road, the police reaction escalated and we were asked to clear the bridge. A large group of activists at the North end of the bridge sat down and committed to passively resisting arrest. Over the next two hours, the police carried away these activists one by one and put them in a out of service Lothian Bus to be taken to the police station. 27 were arrested in total. Meanwhile, a large crowd continued to dance, demonstrate and chant in support.
This action was taken to disrupt business as usual, ring the alarm on the climate crisis and force the government to listen to our demands which are as follows; 1. tell the truth about the climate and ecological crisis and reverse any inconsistent policies; 2. commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; 3. create a Citizens Assembly to decide what needs to be done.
Ellie Harris, 21; “It was so empowering to be with so many compassionate, hopeful people today. We know that the innovations in infrastructure, tech, science, agriculture and politics which could halt climate change have been around for years. This hasn’t happened because governments around the world have acted in the interest of large companies. We must get governments to negotiate and by protesting in this way we force them to listen.We are rebelling for the earth!”
This action is part of the International Rebellion which has seen around 10,000 people block five roads in London and 112 arrested (as of 6am this morning).
Yesterday, Extinction Rebellion Scotland dropped banners over Victoria Street in Edinburgh, from Finnieston Crane and across City Chambers, George Sq Glasgow to herald the beginning of the International Rebellion, reading “Tell The Truth” and “Welcome to the Rebellion” in Edinburgh and “Science not Silence” and “When the last tree has fallen, Humanity can’t hide, Money won’t solve it, What’s your alibi?” in Glasgow. No one was arrested. Extinction Rebellion Scotland then held a Festival of Climate Reality, a day of talks, trainings, workshops, solutions and crafts, and over 500 people came through the doors to hear about the reality of the climate crisis and what to do about.
Experts are telling the truth about the climate emergency, but governments are not acting as if this truth is real. The Scottish government’s environment committee has admitted the government’s goal of cutting emissions by 90% before 2050 fails to address the scale of the challenge stating “a greater urgency of action across all parts of government” is required. However, Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly against a bill to declare a climate emergency and the SNP Scottish Government have pledged to “continue to do all it can to support the North Sea oil and gas industry through its current challenges”.
On Wednesday, activists will be travelling to London from Scotland to join the UK Rebellion; taking to the streets of London to block traffic day after day at five high profile central locations – Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Piccadilly Circus – causing large scale disruption to force the Government to take urgent action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
Civil disobedience works when it’s peaceful, respectful, disruptive and undertaken en masse. We don’t want to disrupt people, but our Government’s failure over the last 30 years leaves us no choice to bring this to people’s attention. If we had functioning democracies we wouldn’t need to disrupt everyday lives. We’ve tried petitions, marches, letters, reports, papers, meetings, even direct actions; and global emissions have continued to rise. Governments prioritise the short term interests of the economic elites, so to get their attention, we have to disrupt the economy. They have left us with no other option.