Extinction Rebellion Scotland occupy Lothian Road, Edinburgh for five and a half hours, causing major disruption in the centre of the capital

  • 11 activists blocked Lothian Road, Edinburgh between 4pm and 9.30pm, all were arrested. 
  • This action was part of a week of actions Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland are taking to demand that the Scottish Government act on its declaration of a climate emergency and make ambitious amendments to the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, which will be debated on Tuesday 18th June.
  • Monday 17th June marked the first full day of the Holyrood Rebel Camp, which has been set up outside Parliament while the Bill is being discussed. 
  • Tuesday 18th June, from 8am, XR will form a human chain around Parliament to greet politicians arriving to debate the bill, asking them to take the climate and ecological crisis seriously. 

Extinction Rebellion Scotland occupied Lothian Road from 4pm til 9.30pm today (17th June), with further protests on the Royal Mile at the North Bridge and George IV Bridge causing widespread disruption across the city. On Lothian Road, six activists were locked together and five were glued to the road to prevent easy removal. All were arrested after several hours. A further two activists were arrested. This action was taken to demand that the government take its own declaration of a climate emergency seriously and amend the Climate Bill to reflect the enormity of the crisis we are facing. 

Evie from Galloway, 61, “I’m a granny and I’m here because of my grandchildren. When I wonder what their lives will be like if we don’t stop using fossil fuels. If we don’t stop before 2025, we are lost. Its going to be so dreadful. It’s already dreadful. I studied earth system science and I know. I have a daughter and beautiful grandchildren. Already in Galloway, where I live, we can’t see hedgehogs, there are hardly any swallows left. I don’t want to be sitting here glued to the road blocking traffic causing disruption, but I have no other choice, nothing else has worked.”

This action is one of several acts of civil disobedience which Extinction Rebellion Scotland will be doing this week to demand a more ambitious Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. Amendments to this bill will be debated on 18 June 2019 and 25 June 2019 in Scottish Parliament, and Extinction Rebellion Scotland are demanding the net zero emissions target be brought forward to 2025, instead of the current recommendation of 2045, and for the creation of a Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes necessary to respond to the climate crisis and enable the transition to a just, carbon-free society. 

Scotland is recognised by many as being a world leader on climate change. They have a responsibility to live up to this title. The Climate Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament will put pressure on other governments to do the same.
The Climate Bill will lay out Scotland’s carbon emission objectives for 2030 and 2050. Its current recommendations are to reach a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2045.

As the effects of climate change are already visible, protesters are demanding we reach net zero by 2025. If this becomes legally binding legislation, it will be a step of historic proportions and will set a global precedent, giving us a light at the end of the tunnel. 

We are already suffering more frequent and severe extreme weather events including droughts, dry spells, flooding and hurricanes, as well as rising sea levels. Such planet-threatening developments cannot be ignored. If we continue on the current course, the impacts will rapidly become catastrophic, leading to the collapse of society and the natural world.

Ecological collapse is already happening, with more than 26,000 species threatened with extinction; that is 41% of all amphibians, 34% of all conifers, 33% of reef-building corals, 31% of sharks and rays, 25% of all mammals, and 13% of all birds.

The combined effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution cause about seven million premature deaths every year.

The Scottish Government must act accordingly based on the reality of the science, doing what is necessary to halt this crisis. 

Monday 17th June marked the first full day of the Holyrood Rebel Camp, a five day protest camp out set up outside the Scottish Parliament. 

The Holyrood Rebel Camp is an organised week of talks, workshops and people’s assemblies to discuss the climate and ecological emergency and what to do about it. The camp is stewarded, there is food provided which raises money for the Refugee Community Kitchen, plus music and ceilidhs in the evenings. For the full programme go to www.xrscotland.org. 

Monday 17th began with a Parade For Life, a march through Edinburgh’s city centre celebrating biodiversity and nature. The afternoon saw activists blocking Lothian Road. 

Tomorrow morning from 8am, activists will circle the Scottish Parliament in a human chain to greet politicians as they arrive into work to discuss the climate crisis. Activists aim to speak with them to convey the severity of danger we are facing if they do not act accordingly and show them the real faces of the people their actions will harm.