UPDATE: “We’re not the criminals, Jim Ratcliffe is.” 12 arrested in Extinction Rebellion Scotland blockade at INEOS, Grangemouth

“We’re not the criminals, Jim Ratcliffe is.” 12 arrested in Extinction Rebellion Scotland blockade at INEOS, Grangemouth

Press Release 7.15pm, 23.10.2020

This morning at 6.30am, around 40 Extinction Rebellion Scotland activists blocked the entrances to INEOS in Grangemouth using their bodies and two boats. Groups of threes and fours locked themselves together, into barrels and to the boats. They remained there all day and are still in the process of being removed.

They were joined by the Blue Rebels in the morning, a haunting performance piece featuring figures dressed in blue rags in a slow procession signifying our dying oceans. A further demonstration took place outside the Ineos office in London from 8am – 10am. Covid-19 safety precautions were taken, including face masks, social distancing, use of hand sanitiser, and participating activists are using a track and trace app.

After 10 hours police began to remove the protestors and eventually arrested all 12. One activist who was locked on to the ‘Ogoni Nine’ said “I get really angry and upset when I think about the fact that our governments aren’t doing enough to tackle the climate emergency. They have hijacked the meaning of emergency, yet continue to do nothing. I am really afraid of what the future holds for my children, so I just decided to stand up and do something about it.” When arrested she said “I am not the criminal, Jim Ratcliffe is.”

People from the area, including school kids, local politicians and oil workers, stopped by the protest and gave their support. After years of feeling ignored and trodden on by big business and government, folk were pleased to see some action finally being taken.

One boat was parked at the Bo’ness gate and is named ‘Amal Gous’, after a Sudanese tea seller and activist killed by troops in 2019 and painted with the words “Act Now: The future you fear is already here”. Another boat was parked at the Ineos office on Inchyra Road, with more activists locked on, painted with the words “Just Transition”. This boat has been named ‘Ogoni Nine’ in honour of the frontline activists who opposed Shell’s land grab in the Niger Delta for decades and were eventually executed in 1995, a violent act linked to Shell’s human rights abuses in the country.  Fossil fuel companies have a long record of putting people before profit and they cannot be trusted in the just transition.

In official data released by SEPA last week, the petrochemical multinational INEOS is by far the largest climate polluter in Scotland. The five oil, chemical and power plants owned by the company at Grangemouth spewed 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air during 2019, while Ineos’ owner Jim Ratcliffe, 75th richest man in the world, has recently moved to Monaco to escape paying tax.

For INEOS to try and take the moral high ground because they say they contribute to the creation of PPE is offensive and ridiculous. This company is the biggest polluter in Scotland, owned by the richest man in the UK, who doesn’t even pay taxes here – yet they had the audacity to request a £500 million COVID bail out.

Despite the moratorium on fracking in Scotland, Ineos continues to import and process fracked gas from the United States at its plant at Grangemouth. Fracking was essentially banned in Scotland for being unsafe and a big contributor to climate change. Yet it is pure hypocrisy to be profiting from the suffering of some of the poorest communities in the States, who are experiencing the horrific and unjust effects of living in a place where fracking happens – terrorised by earthquakes, contaminated water supplies and flaring.

Jean from Stirling commented “INEOS has proven many times that it is not taking care of the community or the area surrounding the site, its employees or the environment. This whole myth of gas being part of a clean future just disappears when you see the reality.  I’m here today to stand in solidarity with folks who live around here and are being subjected to fumes and flares; with the people who are already being affected by the climate crisis worldwide and to fight against corporate machines who are blocking real climate action in pursuit of profit.”

Ineos is also attempting to resurrect plans to drill for underground gas in central Scotland, intensely lobbying our representatives for their own gain.

About Extinction Rebellion Scotland

Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.

Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24th November 2018, are as follows;

  1. That the Scottish Government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
  2. That the Scottish Government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the wellbeing of all.
  3. The creation of a legally binding Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.